Skip to main content

Full text of "The geological evidences of the antiquity of man : with remarks on theories of the origin of species by variation"

See other formats




' ' 

&M&'.' ?^'f 







University of California Berkeley 




the EAETH and its INHABITANTS, as illustrative of Geology. 9th Edition. 
Woodcuts, 8vo., 18s. 

the EABTH and its INHABITANTS, as illustrated by its Geological Monuments. 
6th Edition, revised. Woodcuts. 8vo. \In preparation. 


Edition. Maps. 4 vols. Post 8vo. 24. 


3 3 




? * 

a 5 

M f-4 

> a 













The right or translation is reserved 






Preliminary Remarks on the Subjects treated of in this "Work Definition of 
the Terms Recent, Post-Pliocene, and Post-Tertiary Tabular View of the 
entire Series of Fossiliferous Strata ,-/.<* . . . PAGE 1 




Works of Art in Danish Peat-Mosses Remains of three Periods of Vegetation 
in the Peat Ages of Stone, Bronze, and Iron Shell-Mounds or ancient 
Refuse-Heaps of the Danish Islands Change in geographical Distribution 
of Marine Mollusca since their Origin Embedded Remains of Mammalia 
of recent Species Human Skulls of the same Period Swiss LaEe-Dwel- 
lings built on Piles Stone and Bronze Implements found in them Fossil 
Cereals and other Plants Remains of Mammalia, wild and domesticated 
No extinct Species Chronological Computations of the Date of the Bronze 
and Stone Periods in Switzerland Lake-Dwellings, or artificial Islands 
called ' Crannoges,' in Ireland ./->.. . ' v '. 8 


Delta and Alluvial Plain of the Nile Burnt Bricks in Egypt before the Roman 
Era Borings in 1851-54 Ancient Mounds of the Valley of the Ohio 
Their Antiquity Sepulchral Mound at Santos in Brazil Delta of the 
Mississippi Ancient Human Remains in Coral Reefs of Florida Changes in 
Physical Geography in the Human Period Buried Canoes in marine Strata 
near Glasgow Upheaval since the Roman Occupation of the Shores of the 
Firth of Forth Fossil Whales near Stirling Upraised marine Strata of 
Sweden on Shores of the Baltic and the Ocean Attempts to compute their 
Age. v 33 





Earliest Discoveries in Caves of Languedoc of Human Remains with Bones of 
extinct Mammalia Researches in 1833 of Dr. Schmerling in the Liege 
Caverns Scattered Portions of Human Skeletons associated with Bones of 
Elephant and Rhinoceros Distribution and probable Mode of Introduction 
of the Bones Implements of Flint and Bone Schmerling' s Conclusions as 
to the Antiquity of Man ignored Present State of the Belgian Caves 
Human Bones recently found in Cave of Engihoul Engulfed Rivers 
Stalagmitic Crust Antiquity of the Human Remains in Belgium how 
proved PAGE 59 



Human Skeleton found in Cave near Diisseldorf Its geological Position and 
probable Age Its abnormal and ape-like Characters Fossil Human Skull 
of the Engis Cave near Liege Professor Huxley's Description of these 
Skulls Comparison of each, with extreme Varieties of the native Austra 
lian Race Range of Capacity in the Human and Simian Brains Skull from 
Borrebyin Denmark Conclusions of Professor Huxley Bearing of the 
peculiar Characters of the Neanderthal Skull on the Hypothesis of Transmu 
tation 75 



General Position of Drift with extinct Mammalia in Valleys Discoveries of 
M. Boucher de Perthes- at Abbeville Flint Implements found also at 
St. Acheul, near Amiens Curiosity awakened by the systematic Explora 
tion of the Brixham Cave Flint Knives in same, with Bones of extinct 
Mammalia Superposition of Deposits in the Cave Visits of English and 
French Geologists to Abbeville and Amiens . . . . 93 


Geological Structure of the Valley of the Somme and of the surrounding 
Country Position of Alluvium of different Ages Peat near Abbeville 
Its animal and vegetable Contents Works of Art in Peat Probable 
Antiquity of the Peat, and Changes of Level since its Growth began Flint 
Implements of antique Type in older Alluvium Their various Forms and 
great Numbers i . 106 



OF THE SOMME concluded. 

Fluvio-marine Strata, with Flint Implements, near Abbeville Marine Shells in 
same Cyrena Fluminalis Mammalia Entire Skeleton of Rhinoceros 
Flint Implements, why found low down in Fluviatile Deposits Rivers 
shifting their Channels Relative Ages of higher and lower-level Gravels 
Section of Alluvium of St. Acheul Two Species of Elephant and Hippopo 
tamus coexisting with Man in France Volume of Drift, proving Antiquity 
of Flint Implements Absence of Human Bones in tool-bearing Alluvium, 
how explained Value of certain Kinds of negative Evidence tested thereby 
Human Bones not found in drained Lake of Haarlem . . PAGE 121 



Flint Implements in ancient Alluvium of the Basin of the Seine Bones of Man 
and of extinct Mammalia in the Cave of Arcy Extinct Mammalia in the 
Valley of the Oise Flint Implement in Gravel of same Valley Works of 
Art in Post-Pliocene Drift in Valley of the Thames Musk Buffalo Meeting 
of northern and southern Fauna Migrations of Quadrupeds Mammals of 
Amoor Land Chronological Relation of the older Alluvium of the Thames 
to the Glacial Drift Flint Implements of Post-Pliocene Period in Surrey, 
Middlesex, Kent, Bedfordshire, and Suffolk. . ', ' . 150 




Flint Implements in Cave containing Hysena and other extinct Mammalia in 
Somersetshire Caves of the Gower Peninsula in South Wales Rhinoceros 
hemitoechus Ossiferous Caves near Palermo Sicily once part of Africa 
Rise of Bed of the Mediterranean to the Height of three hundred Feet in the 
Human Period in Sardinia Burial Place of Post-Pliocene Date of Aurignac 
in the South of France Rhinoceros tichorhinus eaten by Man M. Lartet 
on extinct Mammalia and Works of Art found in the Aurignac Cave 
Relative Antiquity of the same, considered 170 




Question as to the Authenticity of the Fossil Man of Denise, near Le Puy-en- 
Velay, considered Antiquity of the Human Race implied by that Fossil 
Successive Periods of volcanic Action in Central France "With what 
Changes in the Mammalian Fauna they correspond The Elephas Meridio- 
nalis anterior in Time to the implement-bearing Gravel of St. Acheul 
Authenticity of the Human Fossil of Natchez on the Mississippi, discussed 
The Natchez Deposit, containing Bones of Mastodon and Megalonyx, pro 
bably not older than the Flint Implements of St. Acheul . . PAGE 194 



Chronological Relation of the Glacial Period, and the earliest known Signs of 
Man's Appearance in Europe Series of Tertiary Deposits in Norfolk and 
Suffolk immediately antecedent to the Glacial Period Gradual Refrigeration 
of Climate proved by the Marine Shells of successive Groups Marine 
Newer Pliocene Shells of northern Character, near Woodbridge Section of 
tbe Norfolk Cliffs Norwich Crag Forest Bed and fluvio-marine Strata 
Fossil Plants and Mammalia of the same Overlying Boulder Clay and 
contorted Drift Newer freshwater Formation of Mundesley compared to 
that of Hoxne Great Oscillations of Level implied by the Series of Strata 
in the Norfolk Cliffs Earliest known Date of Man long subsequent to the 
existing Fauna and Flora 206 



Chronological Relations of the Close of the Glacial Period and the earliest 
geological Signs of the Appearance of Man Effects of Glaciers and Icebergs 
in polishing and scoring Rocks Scandinavia once encrusted with Ice like 
Greenland Outward Movement of Continental Ice in Greenland Mild 
Climate of Greenland in the Miocene Period Erratics of recent Period in 
Sweden Glacial State of Sweden in the Post-Pliocene Period Scotland 
formerly encrusted with Ice Its subsequent Submergence and Re-elevation 
Latest Changes produced by Glaciers in Scotland Remains of the Mammoth 
and Reindeer in Scotch Boulder Clay Parallel Roads of Glen Roy formed 
in Glacier Lakes Comparatively modern Date of these Shelves . 229 




Signs of extinct Glaciers in Wales Great Submergence of Wales during the 
Glacial Period proved by Marine Shells Still greater Depression inferred 
from stratified Drift Scarcity of organic Eemains in Glacial Formations 
Signs of extinct . Glaciers in England Ice Action in Ireland Maps 
illustrating successive Eevolutions in Physical Geography during the Post- 
Pliocene Period Southernmost Extent of Erratics in England Successive 
Periods of Junction and Separation of England, Ireland, and the Continent 
Time required for these Changes Probable Causes of the Upheaval and 
Subsidence of the Earth's Crust Antiquity of Man considered in relation 
to the Age of the existing Fauna and Flora .... PAGE 265 



Extinct Glaciers of Switzerland Alpine Erratic Blocks on the Jura Not 
transported by floating Ice Extinct Glaciers of the Italian Side of 
the Alps Theory of the Origin of Lake-Basins by the erosive Action of 
Glaciers, considered Successive Phases in the Development of Glacial 
Action in the Alps Probable Eelation of these to the earliest known Date 
of Man Correspondence of the same with successive Changes in the Glacial 
Condition of the Scandinavian and British Mountains Cold Period in 
Sicily and Syria . .-_ . : . . , ,- . 4 V. ... 290 



Nature, Origin, and Age of the Loess of the Ehine and Danube Impalpable 
Mud produced by the grinding Action of Glaciers Dispersion of this Mud 
at the Period of the Eetreat of the great Alpine Glaciers Continuity of 
the Loess from Switzerland to the Low Countries Characteristic organic 
Eemains not Lacustrine Alpine Gravel in the Valley of the Ehine covered 
by Loess Geographical Distribution of the Loess and its Height above the 
Sea Fossil Mammalia Loess of the Danube Oscillations in the Level 
of the Alps and lower Country required to explain the Formation and 
Denudation of the Loess More rapid Movement of the inland Country 
The same Depression and Upheaval might account for the Advance and 
Eetreat of the Alpine Glaciers Himalayan Mud of the Plains of the 
Ganges compared to European Loess Human Eemains in Loess near 
Maestricht, and their probable Antiquity 324 




Geological Structure of the Island of Moen Great Disturbances of the 
Chalk posterior in Date to the Glacial Drift, with recent Shells M. Pug- 
gaard's Sections of the Cliffs of Moen Flexures and Faults common to the 
Chalk and Glacial Drift Different Direction of the Lines of successive 
Movement, Fracture, and Flexure Undisturbed Condition of the Eocks in 
the adjoining Danish Islands Unequal Movements of Upheaval in Finmark 

Earthquake of New Zealand in 1855 Predominance in all Ages of 
uniform Continental Movements over those by which the Eocks are 
locally convulsed . . . <" * .;' . - ' PAGE 341 



Post-glacial Strata containing Eemains of Mastodon Giganteus in North 
America Scarcity of Marine Shells in Glacial Drift of Canada and the 
United States Greater southern Extension of Ice- action in North America 
than in Europe Trains of Erratic Blocks of vast Size in Berkshire, Massa 
chusetts Description of their Linear Arrangement and Points of Departure 

Their Transportation referred to Floating and Coast Ice General 
Remarks on the Causes of former Changes of Climate at successive geological 
Epochs Supposed Effects of the Diversion of the Gulf Stream in a 
Northerly instead of North-Easterly Direction Development of extreme 
Cold on the opposite Sides of the Atlantic in the Glacial Period not strictly 
simultaneous Number of Species of Plants and Animals common to Pre- 
glacial and Post-glacial Times 351 



Recapitulation of Eesults arrived at in the earlier Chapters Ages of Stone 
and Bronze Danish Peat and Kitchen-Middens Swiss Lake-Dwellings 
Local Changes in Vegetation and in the wild and domesticated Animals and 
in Physical Geography coeval with the Age of Bronze and the later Stone 
Period Estimates of the positive Date of some Deposits of the later Stone 
Period Ancient Division of the Age of Stone of St. Acheul and Aurignac 

Migrations of Man in that Period from the Continent to England in Post- 
Glacial Times Slow Rate of Progress in barbarous Ages Doctrine of the 
superior Intelligence and Endowments of the original Stock of Mankind 
considered Opinions of the Greeks and Eomans, and their Coincidence 
with those of the modern Progressionist Early Egyptian Civilisation and 
its Date in comparison with that .of the First and Second Stone Periods 



Antiquity and Persistency in Character of the existing Races of Mankind 
Theory of their Unity of Origin considered Bearing of the Diversity of 
Races on the Doctrine of Transmutation Difficulty of defining the Terms 
'Species' and 'Race' Lamarck's Introduction of the Element of Time into 
the Definition of a Species His Theory of Variation and Progression 
Objections to his Theory, how far answered Arguments of modern Writers 
in favour of Progression in the Animal and Vegetable World The old 
Landmarks supposed to indicate the first Appearance of Man, and of dif 
ferent Classes of Animals, found to be erroneous Yet the Theory of an 
advancing Series of organic Beings not inconsistent with Facts Earliest 
known Fossil Mammalia of low Grade No Vertebrata as yet discovered in 
the oldest fossiliferous Rocks Objections to the Theory of Progression 
considered Causes of the Popularity of the Doctrine of Progression as 
compared to that of Transmutation PAGE 385 



Mr. Darwin's Theory of the Origin of Species by Natural Selection Memoir 
by Mr. Wallace Manner in which favoured Races prevail in the Struggle 
for Existence Formation of new Races by breeding Hypothesis of 
definite and indefinite Modifiability equally arbitrary Competition and 
Extinction of Races Progression not a necessary Accompaniment of 
Variation Distinct Classes of Phenomena which natural Selection explains 
Unity of Type, rudimentary Organs, Geographical Distribution, Relation 
of the extinct to the living Fauna and Flora, and mutual Relations of suc 
cessive Groups of Fossil Forms Light thrown on Embryological Develop 
ment by natural Selection Why large Genera have more variable Species 
than small ones Dr. Hooker on the Evidence afforded by the Vegetable 
Kingdom in favour of Creation by Variation Sefstrom on alternate Gene 
ration How far the Doctrine of independent Creation is opposed to the 
Laws now governing the Migration of Species 407 



Statement of Objections to the Hypothesis of Transmutation founded on the 
Absence of intermediate Forms Genera of which the Species are closely 
allied Occasional Discovery of the missing Links in a Fossil State 
Davidson's Monograph on the Brachiopoda Why the Gradational Forms, 
when found, are not accepted as Evidence of Transmutation Gaps caused 
by Extinction of Races and Species Vast Tertiary Periods during which 
this Extinction has been going on in the Fauna and Flora now existing 


Genealogical Bond between Miocene and recent Plants and Insects Fossils 
of Oeninghen Species of Insects in Britain and North America represented 
by distinct Varieties Falconer's Monograph on living and fossil Elephants 
Fossil Species and Genera of the Horse Tribe in North and South America 

Eelation of the Pliocene Mammalia of North America, Asia, and Europe 

Species of Mammalia, though less persistent than the Mollusca, change 
slowly Arguments for and against Transmutation derived from the Absence 
of Mammalia in Islands Imperfection of the Geological Eecord Inter 
calation of newly discovered Formations of intermediate Age in the chronolo 
gical Series Eeference of the St. Cassian Beds to the Triassic Period 
Discovery of new organic Types Feathered Archseopteryx of the Oolite 

PAGE 424 


Aryan Hypothesis and Controversy The Eaces of Mankind change more 
slowly than their Languages Theory of the gradual Origin of Languages 

Difficulty of defining what is meant by a Language as distinct from a 
Dialect Great Number of extinct and living Tongues No European 
Language a Thousand Years old Gaps between Languages, how caused 

Imperfection of the Eecord Changes always in Progress Struggle for 
Existence between Eival Terms and Dialects Causes of Selection Each 
Language formed slowly in a single geographical Area May die out 
gradually or suddenly Once lost can never be revived Mode of Origin 
of Languages and Species a Mystery Speculations as to the Number of 
original Languages or Species unprofitable 454 



Whether Man can be regarded as an Exception to the Eule if the Doctrine of 
Transmutation be embraced for the rest of the Animal Kingdom Zoological 
Eelations of Man to other Mammalia Systems of Classification Term 
Quadrumanous, why deceptive Whether the Structure of the Human Brain 
entitles Man to form a distinct Sub-class of the Mammalia Eecent Con 
troversy as to the Degree of Eesemblance between the Brain of Man and 
that of the Apes Intelligence of the lower Animals compared to the 
Intellect and Eeason of Man Grounds on which Man has been referred 
to a distinct Kingdom of Nature Immaterial Principle common to Man 
and Animals Non-discovery of intermediate Links among Fossil Anthropo 
morphous Species Hallam on the compound Nature of Man, and his Place 
in the Creation Dr. Asa Gray on Gradations in Nature, and on the bearing 
of the Doctrine of Natural Selection on Natural Theology . , . 471 








NO subject has lately excited more curiosity and general 
interest among geologists and the public than the 
question of the Antiquity of the Human Eace, whether or 
no we have sufficient evidence in caves, or in the superficial 
deposits commonly called drift or ' diluvium,' to prove the 
former co-existence of man with certain extinct mammalia. 
For the last half-century, the occasional occurrence, in va 
rious parts of Europe, of the bones of man or the works of 
his hands, in cave-breccias and stalactites, associated with the 
remains of the extinct hyaena, bear, elephant, or rhinoceros, 
has given rise to a suspicion that the date of man must be 
carried further back than we had heretofore imagined. On 
the other hand, extreme reluctance was naturally felt, on the 
part of scientific reasoners, to admit the validity of such 


evidence, seeing that so many caves have been inhabited 
by a succession of tenants, and have been selected by man, 
as a place not only of domicile, but of sepulture, while some 
caves have also served as the channels through which the 
waters of occasional land-floods or engulfed rivers have 
flowed, so that the remains of living beings which have 
peopled the district at more than one era may have subse 
quently been mingled in such caverns and confounded 
together in one and the same deposit. But the facts brought 
to light in 1858, during the systematic investigation of the 
Brixham cave, near Torquay in Devonshire, which will be 
described in the sequel, excited anew the curiosity of the 
British public, and prepared the way for a general admission 
that scepticism in regard to the bearing of cave evidence in 
favour of the antiquity of man had previously been pushed 
to an extreme. 

Since that period, many of the facts formerly adduced in 
favour of the co-existence in ancient times of man with 
certain species of mammalia long since extinct have been 
re-examined in England and on the Continent, and new cases 
bearing on the same question, whether relating to caves or 
to alluvial strata in valleys, have been brought to light. To 
qualify myself for the appreciation and discussion of these 
cases, I have visited, in the course of the last three years, 
many parts of England, France, and Belgium, and have 
communicated personally or by letter with not a few of the 
geologists, English and foreign, who have taken part in these 
researches. Besides explaining in the present volume the 
results of this enquiry, I shall give a description of the 
glacial formations of Europe and North America, that I may 
allude to the theories entertained respecting their origin, and 
consider their probable relations in a chronological point of 
view to the human epoch, and why throughout' a great part 
of the northern hemisphere they so often interpose an abrupt 


barrier to all attempts to trace farther back into the past the 
signs of the existence of man upon the earth. 

In the concluding chapters I shall offer a few remarks on 
the, recent modifications of the Lamarckian theory of pro 
gressive development and transmutation, which are sug 
gested by Mr. Darwin's work on the ' Origin of Species, by 
Variation and Natural Selection,' and the bearing of this 
hypothesis on the different races of mankind and their con 
nection with other parts of the animal kingdom. 

Nomenclature. Some preliminary explanation of the 
nomenclature adopted in the following pages will be indis 
pensable, that the meaning attached to the terms Recent, 
Post-pliocene, and Post-tertiary may be correctly understood. 

Previously to the year 1833, when I published the third 
volume of the f Principles of Geology,' the strata called 
Tertiary had been divided by geologists into Lower, Middle, 
and Upper ; the Lower comprising the oldest formations of the 
environs of Paris and London, with others of like age ; the 
Middle, those of Bordeaux and Touraine ; and the Upper, all 
that lay above or were newer than the last-mentioned, group. 

When engaged, in 1828, in preparing for the press the 
treatise on geology above alluded to, I conceived the idea of 
classing the whole of this series of strata according to the 
different degrees of affinity which their fossil testacea bore to 
the living fauna. Having obtained information on this 
subject during my travels on the Continent, I learnt that 
M.Deshayes of Paris, already celebrated as a conchologist, had 
been led independently, by the study of a large collection of 
recent and fossil shells, to very similar views respecting the 
possibility of arranging the tertiary formations in chrono 
logical order, according to the proportional number of species 
of shells identical with living ones, which characterised each 
of the successive groups above mentioned. After comparing 
3000 fossil species with 5000 living ones, the result arrived at 

B 2 


was, that in the lower tertiary strata, there were about 3|- 
per cent, identical with recent ; in the middle tertiary (the 
faluns of the Loire and Gironde), about 17 per cent. ; and in 
the upper tertiary, from 35 to 50, and sometimes in the most 
modern beds as much as 90 to 95 per cent. For the sake of 
clearness and brevity, I proposed to give short technical names 
to these sets of strata, or the periods to which they respec 
tively belonged. I called the first or oldest of them Eocene, 
the second Miocene, and the third Pliocene. The first of 
the above terms, Eocene, is derived from r)cu$ eos 9 dawn, and 
xottvos kainos, recent; because an extremely small propor 
tion of the fossil shells of this period could be referred to 
living species, so that this era seemed to indicate the dawn of 
the present testaceous fauna, no living species of shells having 
been detected in the antecedent or secondary rocks. 

Some conchologists are now unwilling to allow that any 
Eocene species of shell has really survived to our times so 
unaltered as to allow of its specific identification with a living 
species. I cannot enter in this place into this wide controversy. 
It is enough at present to remark, that the character of the 
Eocene fauna, as contrasted with that of the antecedent 
secondary formations, wears a very modern aspect, and that 
some able living conchologists still maintain that there are 
Eocene shells not specifically distinguishable from those now 
extant; though they may be fewer in number than was 
supposed in 1833. 

The term Miocene (from peicov melon, less; and xaivo'f 
kainos 9 recent) is intended to express a minor proportion of 
recent species (of testacea) ; the term Pliocene (from 7r\slwv 
pleion, more ; and xaTvoj kainos, recent), a comparative 
plurality of the same. 

It has sometimes been objected to this nomenclature that 
certain species of infusoria found in the chalk are still 
existing, and, on the other hand, the Miocene and Older 


Pliocene deposits often contain the remains of mammalia, 
reptiles, and fish, exclusively of extinct species. But the 
reader must bear in mind that the terms Eocene, Miocene, 
and Pliocene were originally invented with reference purely 
to conchological data, and in that sense have always been and 
are still used by me. 

Since the first introduction of the terms above defined, the 
number of new living species of shells obtained from different 
parts of the globe has been exceedingly great, supplying fresh 
data for comparison, and enabling the paleontologist to 
correct many erroneous identifications of fossil and recent 
forms. New species also have been collected in abundance 
from tertiary formations of every age, while newly discovered 
groups of strata have filled up gaps in the previously known 
series. Hence modifications and reforms have been called 
for in the classification first proposed. The Eocene, Miocene, 
and Pliocene periods have been made to comprehend certain 
sets of strata of which the fossils do not always conform 
strictly in the proportion of recent to extinct species with the 
definitions first given by me, or which are implied in the 
etymology of those terms. These innovations have been 
treated of in my ( Elements or Manual of Elementary 
Greology,' and in the Supplement to the fifth edition of the 
same, published in 1859, where some modifications of my 
classification, as first proposed, are introduced ; but I need 
not dwell on these on the present occasion, as the only 
formations with which we shall be concerned in the pre 
sent volume are those of the most modern date, or the 
Post-tertiary. It will be convenient to divide these into two 
groups, the Eecent and the Post-pliocene. In the Eecent we 
may comprehend those deposits in which not only all the 
shells but all the fossil mammalia are of living species ; in the 
Post-pliocene those strata in which, the shells being recent, 
a portion, and often a considerable one, of the accompanying 


fossil quadrupeds belongs to extinct species. I am aware that 
it may be objected, with some justice, to this nomenclature, 
that the term Post-pliocene ought in strictness to include all 
geological monuments posterior in date to the Pliocene; 
but when I have occasion to speak of these in the aggregate, 
I shall call them Post-tertiary, and reserve the term Post- 
pliocene exclusively for Lower Post-pliocene, the Upper Post- 
pliocene formations being called 6 Eecent.' 

Cases will occur where it may be scarcely possible to draw 
the line of demarcation between the Newer Pliocene and Post- 
pliocene, or between the latter and the recent deposits ; and 
we must expect these difficulties to increase rather than 
diminish with every advance in our knowledge, and in propor 
tion as gaps are filled up in the series of geological records. 

In 1839 I proposed the term Pleistocene as an abbreviation 
for Newer Pliocene, and it soon became popular, because 
adopted by the late Edward Forbes in his admirable essay 
on 'The Geological Kelations of the existing Fauna and 
Flora of the British Isles;'* but he applied the term almost 
precisely in the sense in which I shall use Post-pliocene in this 
volume, and not as short for Newer Pliocene. In order to 
prevent confusion, I think it best entirely to abstain from 
the use of Pleistocene in future ; I have found that the 
introduction of such a fourth name (unless restricted solely to 
the older Post-tertiary formations) must render the use of 
Pliocene, in its original extended sense, impossible, and it is 
often almost indispensable to have a single term to compre 
hend both divisions of the Pliocene period. 

The annexed tabular view of the whole series of fossiliferous 
strata will enable the reader to see at a glance the chrono 
logical relation of the Eecent and Post-pliocene to the ante 
cedent periods. 

* Geological Kelations of the Survey of Great Britain, vol. i. p. 336. 
existing Fauna and Flora of the London, 1846.) 
British Isles. (Memoirs of Geological 


























24. LIAS 












fc oO 












d O 

* 1 

<H N N 

31. UPPER ^ 

32. LOWER] 


a I s 

33. UPPER ) 

* 2 <i 

34. LOWER) 



35. UPPER 1 

ic T m\TT?a 














Works of Art in Danish Peat. 

WHEN treating in the ( Principles of Geology ' of the 
changes of the earth which have taken place in compa 
ratively modern times, I have spoken (chap, xlv.) of the em 
bedding of organic bodies and human remains in peat, and 
explained under what conditions the growth of that vegetable 
substance is going on in northern and humid climates. Of 
late years, since I first alluded to the subject, more extensive 
investigations have been made into the history of the Danish 
peat-mosses. Of the results of these enquiries I shall give a 
brief abstract in the present chapter, that we may afterwards 
compare them with deposits of older date, which throw 
light on the antiquity of the human race. 

The deposits of peat in Denmark,* varying in depth from 

* An excellent account of these re- and will be found in the Bulletin de 

searches of Danish naturalists and la Societ6 Vaudoise des Sci. Nat., t. vi. 

antiquaries has been drawn up by an Lausanne, 1860. 
able Swiss geologist, M. A. Morlot, 


ten to thirty feet, have been formed in hollows or depres 
sions in the northern drift or boulder formation hereafter to 
be described. The lowest stratum, two to three feet thick, 
consists of swamp-peat composed chiefly of moss or sphagnum, 
above which lies another growth of peat, not made up 
exclusively of aquatic or swamp plants. Around the borders 
of the bogs, and at various depths in them, lie trunks of trees, 
especially of the Scotch fir (Pinus sylvestris), often three 
feet in diameter, which must have grown on the margin of 
the peat-mosses, and have frequently fallen into them. 
This tree is not now, nor has ever been in historical times, a 
native of the Danish Islands, and when introduced there has 
not thriven ; yet it was evidently indigenous in the human 
period, for Steenstrup has taken out witji his own hands a 
flint instrument from below a buried trunk of one of these 
pines. It appears clear that the same Scotch fir was after 
wards supplanted by the sessile variety of the common oak, 
of which many prostrate trunks occur in the peat at higher 
levels than the pines ; and still higher the pedunculated 
variety of the same oak (Quercus Robur L.) occurs with the 
alder, birch (Betula verrucosa Ehrh.), and hazel. The oak 
has now in its turn been almost superseded in Denmark by the 
common beech. Other trees, such as the white birch (Betula 
alba), characterise the lower part of the bogs, and disappear 
from the higher ; while others again, like the aspen (Populus 
tremula), occur at all levels, and still flourish in Denmark. 
All the land and fresh-water shells, and all the mammalia as 
well as the plants, whose remains occur buried in the 
Danish peat, are of recent species. 

It has been stated, that a stone implement was found 
under a buried Scotch fir at a great depth in the peat. By 
collecting and studying a vast variety of such implements, 
and other articles of human workmanship preserved in peat 
and in sand-dunes on the coast, as also in certain shell- 
mounds of the aborigines presently to be described, the 


Danish and Swedish antiquaries and naturalists, MM. Nillson, 
Steenstrup, Forchhammer, Thomsen, Worsaae and others, 
have succeeded in establishing a chronological succession of 
periods, which they have called the ages of stone, of bronze, 
and of iron, named from the materials which have each in 
their turn served for the fabrication of implements. 

The age of stone in Denmark coincided with the period 
of the first vegetation, or that of the Scotch fir, and in part 
at least with the second vegetation, or that of the oak. But 
a considerable portion of the oak epoch coincided with ' the 
age of bronze,' for swords and shields of that metal, now 
in the Museum of Copenhagen, have been taken out of peat 
in which oaks abound. The age of iron corresponded more 
nearly with that of the beech tree.* 

M. Morlot, to whom we are indebted for a masterly sketch 
of the recent progress of this new line of research, followed 
up with so much success in Scandinavia and Switzerland, 
observes that the introduction of the first tools made of bronze 
among a people previously ignorant of the use of metals, im 
plies a great advance in the arts, for bronze is an alloy of 
about nine parts of copper and one of tin ; and although the 
former metal, copper, is by no means rare, and is occasionally 
found pure or in a native state, tin is not only scarce but 
never occurs native. To detect the existence of this metal in 
its ore, then to disengage it from the matrix, and finally, 
after blending it in due proportion with copper, to cast the 
fused mixture in a mould, allowing time for it to acquire 
hardness by slow cooling, all this bespeaks no small sagacity 
and skilful manipulation. Accordingly, the pottery found 
associated with weapons of bronze is of a more ornamental 
and tasteful style than any which belongs to the age of 
stone. Some of the moulds in which the bronze instruments 
were cast, and ( tags,' as they are called, of bronze, which are 

* Morlot, Bulletin de la Societe Vaudoise des Sci. Nat., t. vi. p. 292. 


formed in the hole through which the fused metal was poured, 
have been found. The number and variety of objects belong 
ing to the age of bronze indicates its long duration, as does 
the progress in the arts implied by the rudeness of the earlier 
tools, often mere repetitions of those of the stone age, as 
contrasted with the more skilfully worked weapons of a later 
stage of the same period. 

It has been suggested that an age of copper must always 
have intervened between that of stone and bronze ; but if so, 
the interval seems to have been short in Europe, owing 
apparently to the territory occupied by the aboriginal in 
habitants having been invaded and conquered by a people 
coming from the East, to whom the use of swords, spears, and 
other weapons of bronze was familiar. Hatchets, however, of 
copper have been found in the Danish peat. 

The next stage of improvement, or that manifested by the 
substitution of iron for bronze, indicates another stride in the 
progress of the arts. Iron never presents itself, except in 
meteorites, in a native state, so that to recognise its ores, and 
then to separate the metal from its matrix, demands no small 
exercise of the powers of observation and invention. To fuse 
the ore requires an intense heat, not to be obtained without 
artificial appliances, such as pipes inflated by the human 
breath, or bellows, or some other suitable machinery. 

Danish Shell-mounds, or Kjokkenmodding.* 

In addition to the peat-mosses, another class of memorials 
found in Denmark has thrown light on the pre-historical age. 
At certain points along the shores of nearly all the Danish 

* Mr. John Lubbock published, p. 489, in which he has described the 

after these sheets were written, an results of a recent visit to Denmark, 

able paper on the Danish ' shell- made by him in company with Messrs, 

mounds ' in the October Number of Busk, Prestwich, and Galton. 
the Natural History Keview, 1861, 


islands, mounds may be seen, consisting chiefly of thousands 
of cast-away shells of the oyster, cockle, and other mollusks 
of the same species as those which are now eaten by man. 
These shells are plentifully mixed up with the bones of 
various quadrupeds, birds and fish, which served as the food 
of the rude hunters and fishers by whom the mounds were 
accumulated. I have seen similar large heaps of oysters, 
and other marine shells, with interspersed stone implements, 
near the sea-shore, both in Massachusetts and in Georgia, 
U. S,, left by the native North American Indians at points 
near to which they were in the habit of pitching their wig 
wams for centuries before the white man arrived. 

Such accumulations are called by the Danes, Kjokken- 
modding, or 'kitchen-refuse-heaps.' Scattered all through 
them are flint knives, hatchets, and other instruments of 
stone, horn, wood, and bone, with fragments of coarse pottery, 
mixed with charcoal and cinders, but never any implements 
of bronze, still less of iron. The stone hatchets and knives 
had been sharpened by rubbing, and in this respect are one 
degree less rude than those of an older date, associated in 
France with the bones of extinct mammalia, of which more 
in the sequel. The mounds vary in height from 3 to 10 feet, 
and in area are some of them 1000 feet long, and from 150 
to 200 wide. They are rarely placed more than 10 feet 
above the level of the sea, and are confined to its immediate 
neighbourhood, or if not (and there are cases where they are 
several miles from the shore), the distance is ascribable to the 
entrance of a small stream, which has deposited sediment, or 
to the growth of a peaty swamp, by which the land has been 
made to advance on the Baltic, as it is still doing in many 
places, aided, according to M. Puggaard, by a very slow up 
heaval of the whole country at the rate of two or three inches 
in a century. 

There is also another geographical fact equally in favour 


of the antiquity of the mounds, viz., that they are wanting 
on those parts of the coast which border the Western Ocean, 
or exactly where the waves are now slowly eating away the 
land. There is every reason to presume that originally there 
were stations along the coast of the Grerman Ocean as well 
as that of the Baltic, but by the gradual undermining of 
the cliffs they have all been swept away. 

Another striking proof, perhaps the most conclusive of 
all, that the ' refuse-heaps ' are very old, is derived from 
the character of their embedded shells. These consist en 
tirely of living species ; but, in the first place, the common 
eatable oyster is among them, attaining its full size, whereas 
the same Ostrea edulis cannot live at present in the brackish 
waters of the Baltic except near its entrance, where, when 
ever a north-westerly gale prevails, a current setting in from 
the ocean pours in a great body of salt water. Yet it seems 
that during the whole time of the accumulation of the 
'shell-mounds' the oyster flourished in places from which 
it is now excluded. In like manner the eatable cockle, 
mussel, and periwinkle (Cardium edule, Mytilus edulis, 
and Littorina littored), which are met with in great 
numbers in the ( refuse-heaps,' are of the ordinary dimen 
sions which they acquire in the ocean, whereas the same 
species now living in the adjoining parts of the Baltic 
only attain a third of their natural size, being stunted and 
dwarfed in their growth by the quantity of fresh water 
poured by rivers into that inland sea.* Hence we may con 
fidently infer that in the days of the aboriginal hunters and 
fishers, the ocean had freer access than now to the Baltic, 
communicating probably through the peninsula of Jutland, 
Jutland having been at no remote period an archipelago. 
Even in the course of the present century, the salt waters 

* See Principles of Geology, ch. xxx. 


have made one eruption into the Baltic by the Lymfiord, 
although they have been now again excluded. It is also 
affirmed that other channels were open in historical times 
which are now silted up.* 

If we next turn to the remains of vertebrata preserved in 
the mounds, we find that here also, as in the Danish peat 
mosses, all the quadrupeds belong to species known to have 
inhabited Europe within the memory of man. No remains 
of the mammoth, or rhinoceros, or of any extinct species 
appear, except those of the wild bull (Bos Urus Linn., or Bos 
primigenius Bojanus), which are in such numbers as to 
prove that the species was a favourite food of the ancient 
people. But as this animal was seen by Julius Caesar, and 
survived long after his time, its presence alone would not 
go far to prove the mounds to be of high antiquity. The 
Lithuanian aurochs or bison (Bos Bison L., Bos priscus Boj., 
which has escaped extirpation only because protected by the 
Kussian Czars, surviving in one forest in Lithuania) has not 
yet been met with, but will no doubt be detected hereafter, 
as it has been already found in the Danish peat. The 
beaver, long since destroyed in Denmark, occurs frequently, 
as does the seal (Phoca Gryppus Fab.), now very rare on 
the Danish coast. With these are mingled bones of the red 
deer and roe, but the rein-deer has not yet been found. 
There are also the bones of many carnivora, such as the 
lynx, fox, and wolf, but no signs of any domesticated animals 
except the dog. The long bones of the larger mammalia 
have been all broken as if by some instrument, in such a 
manner as to allow of the extraction of the marrow, and the 
gristly parts have been gnawed off, as if by dogs, to whose 
agency is also attributed the almost entire absence of the 
bones of young birds and of the smaller bones and softer 

* See Morlot, Bulletin de la Socie"te Vaudoise des Sci. Nat. t. vi. 


parts of the skeletons of birds in general, even of those of 
large size. In reference to the latter, it has been proved ex 
perimentally by Professor Steenstrup, that if the same species 
of birds are now given to dogs, they will devour those parts 
of the skeleton which are missing, and leave just those which 
are preserved in the old e refuse-heaps.' 

The dogs of the mounds, the only domesticated animals, 
are of a smaller race than those of the bronze period, as 
shown by the peat-mosses, and the dogs of the bronze age 
are inferior in size and strength to those of the iron age. 
The domestic ox, horse, and sheep, which are wanting in the 
mounds, are confined to that part of the Danish peat which 
grew in the ages of bronze and iron. 

Among the bones of birds, scarcely any are more frequent 
in the mounds than those of the auk or penguin (Alca 
impennis\ now extinct in Europe, having but lately died 
out in Iceland, but said still to survive in Greenland, where, 
however, its numbers are fast diminishing. The Capercailzie 
(Tetrao Urogallus) is also met with, and may, it is suggested, 
have fed on the buds of the Scotch fir in times when that 
tree flourished around the peat-bogs. The different stages of 
growth of the roe-deer's horns, and the presence of the wild 
swan, now only a winter visitor, have been appealed to as 
proving that the aborigines resided in the same settlements 
all the year round. That they also ventured out to sea in 
canoes such as are now found in the peat-mosses, hollowed 
out of the trunk of a single tree, to catch fish far from land, 
is testified by the bony relics of several deep-sea species, such 
as the herring, cod, and flounder. The ancient people were 
not cannibals, for no human bones are mingled with the spoils 
of the chase. Skulls, however, have been obtained not only 
from peat, but from tumuli of the stone period believed to be 
contemporaneous with the mounds. These skulls are small 
and round, and have a prominent ridge over the orbits of 


the eyes, showing that the ancient race was of small stature, 
with round heads and overhanging eyebrows, in short, they 
bore a considerable resemblance to the modern Laplanders. 
The human skulls of the bronze age found in the Danish peat, 
and those of the iron period, are of an elongated form and 
larger size. There appear to be very few well-authenti 
cated examples of crania referable to the bronze period, a 
circumstance no doubt attributable to the custom prevalent 
among the people of that era of burning their dead and 
collecting their bones in funeral urns. 

No traces of grain of any sort have hitherto been discovered, 
nor any other indication that the ancient people had any 
knowledge of agriculture. The only vegetable remains in the 
mounds are burnt pieces of wood and some charred substance 
referred by Dr. For ch hammer to the Zoster a marina, a sea 
plant which was perhaps used in the production of salt. 

What may be the antiquity of the earliest human remains 
preserved in the Danish peat cannot be estimated in centuries 
with any approach to accuracy. In the first place, in going 
back to the bronze age, we already find ourselves beyond the 
reach of history or even of tradition. In the time of the 
Eomans the Danish Isles were covered, as now, with magnifi 
cent beech forests. Nowhere in the world does this tree flou 
rish more luxuriantly than in Denmark, and eighteen centuries 
seem to have done little or nothing towards modifying the cha 
racter of the forest vegetation. Yet in the antecedent bronze 
period there were no beech trees, or at most but a few stragglers, 
the country being then covered with oak. In the age of stone 
again, the Scotch fir prevailed (see p. 9), and already there 
were human inhabitants in those old pine forests. How many 
generations of each species of tree flourished in succession 
before the pine was supplanted by the oak, and the oak by 
the beech, can be but vaguely conjectured, but the minimum 
of time required for the formation of so much peat must, ac- 


cording to the estimate of Steenstrup and other good authori 
ties, have amounted to at least 4000 years; and there is nothing 
in the observed rate of the growth of peat opposed to the 
conclusion that the number of centuries may not have been four 
times as great, even though the signs of man's existence have 
not yet been traced down to the lowest or amorphous stratum. 
As to the ' shell-mounds,' they correspond in date to the 
older portion of the peaty record, or to the earliest part of the 
age of stone as known in Denmark. 

Ancient Swiss Lake-dwellings, built on Piles. 

In the shallow parts of many Swiss lakes, where there is 
a depth of no more than from five to fifteen feet of water, 
ancient wooden piles are observed at the bottom sometimes 
worn down to the surface of the mud, sometimes projecting 
slightly above it. These have evidently once supported 
villages, nearly all of them of unknown date, but the most 
ancient of which certainly belonged to the age of stone, for 
hundreds of implements resembling those of the Danish 
shell-mounds and peat-mosses have been dredged up from 
the mud into which the piles were driven. 

The earliest historical account of such habitations is that 
given by Herodotus of a Thracian tribe, who dwelt, in the 
year 520 B.C., in Prasias, a small mountain-lake of Pseonia, 
now part of Modern Eoumelia.* 

Their habitations were constructed on platforms raised 
above the lake, and resting on piles. They were connected 
with the shore by a narrow causeway of similar formation. 
Such platforms must have been of considerable extent, for 
the Pseonians lived there with their families and horses. 
Their food consisted largely of the fish which the lake 
produced in abundance. 

* Herodotus, lib. v. cap. 16. Kediscovered by M. Deville, Nat. Hist. Eer., 
Oct. 1862, vol. ii. p. 486. 



In rude and unsettled times, such insular sites afforded 
safe retreats, all communication with the main land being cut 
off, except by boats, or by such wooden bridges as could be 
easily removed. 

The Swiss lake-dwellings seem first to have attracted 
attention during the dry winter of 1853-4, when the lakes 
and rivers sank lower than had ever been previously known, 
and when the inhabitants of Meilen, on the Lake of Zurich, 
resolved to raise the level of some ground and turn it into 
land, by throwing mud upon it obtained by dredging in the 
adjoining shallow water. During these dredging operations 
they discovered a number of wooden piles deeply driven into 
the bed of the lake, and among them a great many hammers, 
axes, celts, and other instruments. All these belonged to the 
stone period with two exceptions, namely, an armlet of thin 
brass wire, and a small bronze hatchet. 

Fragments of rude pottery fashioned by the hand were 
abundant, also masses of charred wood, supposed to have 
formed parts of the platform on which the wooden cabins 
were built. Of this burnt timber, on this and other sites, 
subsequently explored, there was such an abundance as to 
lead to the conclusion that most of the settlements must 
have perished by fire. Herodotus has recorded that the 
Paeonians, above alluded to, preserved their independence 
during the Persian invasion, and defied the attacks of Xerxes 
by aid of the peculiar position of their dwellings. ' But their 
safety,' observes Mr. Wylie, * ' was probably owing to their 
living in the middle of the lake, lv p*s<ry ry A/^VJJ, whereas the 
ancient Swiss settlers were compelled by the rapidly increas 
ing depth of the water near the margins of their lakes to 
construct their habitations at a short distance from the shore, 
within easy bowshot of the land, and therefore not out of 

* "W. M. "Wylie, M.A., Archaeology, vol. xxxvii., 1859, a valuable paper on the 
Swiss and Irish lake-habitations. 


reach of fiery projectiles, against which thatched roofs and 
wooden walls could present but a poor defence.' To these 
circumstances we are probably indebted for the frequent 
preservation, in the mud around the site of the old settle 
ments, of the most precious tools and works of art, such as 
would never have been thrown into the Danish f shell- 
mounds,' which have been aptly compared to a modern dust- 

Dr. Ferdinand Keller of Zurich has drawn up a series of 
most instructive memoirs, illustrated with well-executed 
plates, of the treasures in stone, bronze, and bone brought to 
light in these subaqueous repositories, and^has given an ideal 
restoration of part of one of the old villages (see plate 1) ,* 
such as he conceives may have existed on the Lakes of Zurich 
and Bienne. In this view, however, he has not simply trusted 
to his imagination, but has availed himself of a sketch pub 
lished by M. Dumont d'Urville, of similar habitations of the 
Papoos in New Guinea in the Bay of Dorei. It is also stated 
by Dr. Keller, that on the Eiver Limmat, near Zurich, so late 
as the last century, there were several fishing-huts constructed 
on this same plan.f It will be remarked, that one of the 
cabins is represented as circular. That such was the form of 
many in Switzerland is inferred from the shape of pieces of 
clay which lined the interior, and which owe their preserva 
tion apparently to their having been hardened by fire when 
the village was burnt. In the sketch, some fishing-nets are 
seen spread out to dry on the wooden platform. The Swiss 
archaeologist has found abundant evidence of fishing-gear, 
consisting of pieces of cord, hooks, and stones used as weights. 
A canoe also is introduced, such as are occasionally met with. 
One of these, made of the trunk of a single tree, fifty feet long 

* Keller, Pfahlbauten, Antiqua- 1862, Mr. Lubbock has published an 

rische Gresellschaft in Zurich, Bd. xii. excellent account of the works of the 

xiii. 1858-1861. In the fifth number of Swiss writers on their lake-habitations, 
the Natural History Keview, January 9, f Keller, ibid. Bd. ix. p. 81, note. 

c 2 


and three and a half feet wide, was found capsized at the 
bottom of the Lake of Bienne. It appears to have been 
laden with stones, such as were used to raise the foundation 
of some of the artificial islands. 

It is believed that as many as 300 wooden huts were 
sometimes comprised in one settlement, and that they may 
have contained about 1000 inhabitants. At Wangen, M. 
Lohle has calculated that 40,000 piles were used, probably 
not all planted at one time nor by one generation. Among 
the works of great merit devoted specially to a description of 
the Swiss lake-habitations is that of M. Troyon, published in 
I860.* The number of sites which he and other authors 
have already enumerated in Switzerland is truly wonderful. 
They occur on the large lakes of Constance, Zurich, Geneva 
and Neufchatel, and on most of the smaller ones. Some are 
exclusively of the stone age, others of the bronze period. Of 
these last more than twenty are spoken of on the Lake of 
Geneva alone, twelve on that of Neufchatel, and ten on the 
small Lake of Bienne. 

One of the sites first studied by the Swiss antiquaries was 
the small lake of Moosseedorf, near Berne, where imple 
ments of stone, horn, and bone, but none of metal, were 
obtained. Although the flint here employed must have come 
from a distance (probably from the South of France), the 
chippings of the material are in such profusion as to imply 
that there was a manufactory of implements on the spot. 
Here also, as in several other settlements, hatchets and 
wedges of jade have been observed of a kind said not to 
occur in Switzerland or the adjoining parts of Europe, and 
which some mineralogists would fain derive from the 
East; amber also, which, it is supposed, was imported from 
the shores of the Baltic. 

At Wangen near Stein, on the Lake of Constance, another 

* Sur les Habitations lacustres, 


of the most ancient of the lake-dwellings, hatchets of serpen 
tine and greenstone, and arrow-heads of quartz, have been 
met with. Here also remains of a kind of cloth, supposed to 
be of flax, not woven but plaited, have been detected. Pro 
fessor Heer has recognised lumps of carbonized wheat, Triti- 
cum vulgare, and grains of another kind, T. dicoccum, and 
barley, Hordeum distichon, and flat round cakes of .bread, 
showing clearly that in the stone period the lake-dwellers 
cultivated all these cereals, besides having domesticated the 
dog, the ox, the sheep, and the goat. 

Carbonized apples and pears of small size, such as still 
grow in the Swiss forests, stones of the wild plum, seeds of 
the raspberry and blackberry, and beech-nuts, also occur in 
the mud, and hazel-nuts in great plenty. 

Near Morges, on the Lake of Geneva, a settlement of the 
bronze period, no less than forty hatchets of that metal have 
been dredged up, and in many other localities the number 
and variety of weapons and utensils discovered, in a fine state 
of preservation, is truly astonishing. 

It is remarkable that as yet all the settlements of the 
bronze period are confined to Western and Central Switzer 
land. In the more eastern lakes those of the stone period 
alone have as yet been discovered. 

The tools, ornaments, and pottery of the bronze period in 
Switzerland bear a close resemblance to those of correspond 
ing age in Denmark, attesting the wide spread of a uniform 
civilization over Central Europe at that era. In some few of 
the aquatic stations, as well as in tumuli and battlefields 
in Switzerland, a mixture of bronze and iron implements and 
works of art have been observed, including coins and medals 
of bronze and silver, struck at Marseilles, and of Greek 
manufacture, belonging to the first and pre-Eoman division 
of the age of iron. 

In the settlements of the bronze era the wooden piles are 


not so much decayed as are those of the stone period ; the 
latter having wasted down quite to the level of the mud, 
whereas the piles of the bronze age (as in the Lake of Bienne, 
for example) still project above it. 

Professor Kiitimeyer of Basle, well known to paleontologists 
as the author of several important memoirs on fossil verte- 
brata,. has recently published a scientific description of 
great interest of the animal remains dredged up at various 
stations where they had been embedded for ages in the mud 
into which the piles were driven.* 

These bones bear the same relation to the primitive 
inhabitants of Switzerland and some of their immediate 
successors as do the contents of the Danish ' refuse-heaps ' to 
the ancient fishing and hunting tribes who lived on the 
shores of the Baltic. 

The list of wild mammalia enumerated in this excellent 
treatise contains no less than twenty-four species, exclusive of 
several domesticated ones : besides which there are eighteen 
species of birds, the wild swan, goose, and two species of ducks 
being among them ; also three reptiles, including the eatable 
frog and fresh- water tortoise ; and lastly, nine species of fresh 
water fish. All these (amounting to fifty-four species) are 
with one exception still living in Europe. The exception 
is the wild bull (Bos primigenius), which, as before stated, 
survived in historical times. The following are the mammalia 
alluded to : The bear ( Ursus Arctos), the badger, the com 
mon marten, the polecat, the ermine, the weasel, the otter, 
wolf, fox, wild cat, hedgehog, squirrel, field-mouse (Mus syl- 
vaticus), hare, beaver, hog (comprising two races, namely, the 
wild boar and swamp-hog), the stag (Cervus Elephas), the 
roe-deer, the fallow-deer, the elk, the steinbock (Capra Ibex), 
the chamois, the Lithuanian bison, and the wild bull. The 

* Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten in der Schweiz. Basel, 1861. 


domesticated species comprise the dog, horse, ass, pig, goat, 
sheep, and several bovine races. 

The greater number, if not all, of these animals served for 
food, and all the bones which contained marrow have been split 
open in the same way as the corresponding ones found in the 
shell-mounds of Denmark before mentioned. The bones both 
of the wild bull and the bison are invariably split in this 
manner. As a rule, the lower jaws with teeth occur in greater 
abundance than any other parts of the skeleton, a circum 
stance which, geologists know, holds good in regard to fossil 
mammalia of all periods. As yet the reindeer is missing 
in the Swiss lake-settlements as in the Danish ' refuse-heaps,' 
although this animal in more ancient times ranged over 
France, together with the mammoth, as far south as the Py 

A careful comparison of the bones from different sites has 
shown that in settlements such as Wangen and Moosseedorf, 
belonging to the earliest age of stone, when the habits of the 
hunter state predominated over those of the pastoral, venison, 
or the flesh of the stag and roe, was more eaten than the flesh 
of the domestic cattle and sheep. This was afterwards re 
versed in the later stone period and in the age of bronze. At 
that later period also the tame pig, which is wanting in some 
of the oldest stations, had replaced the wild boar as a common 
article of food. In the beginning of the age of stone, in Swit 
zerland, the goats outnumbered the sheep, but towards the 
close of the same period the sheep were more abundant than 
the goats. 

The fox in the first era was very common, but it nearly 
disappears in the bronze age, during which period a large 
hunting-dog, supposed to have been imported into Switzerland 
from some foreign country, becomes the chief representative 
of the canine genus. 

A single fragment of the bone of a hare (Lepus timidus) 


has been found at Moosseedorf. The almost universal absence 
of this quadruped is supposed to imply that the Swiss lake- 
dwellers were prevented from eating that animal by the same 
superstition which now prevails among the Laplanders, and 
which Julius Caesar found in full force amongst the ancient 

That the lake-dwellers should have fed so largely on the 
fox, while they abstained from touching the hare, establishes, 
says Eiitimeyer, a singular contrast between their tastes and 

Even in the earliest settlements, as already hinted, several 
domesticated animals occur, namely, the ox, sheep, goat, and 
dog. Of the three last, each was represented by one race 
only ; but there were two races of cattle, the most common 
being of small size, and called by Eiitimeyer Bos brachyceros 
(Bos longifrons Owen), or the marsh cow, the other derived 
from the wild bull ; though, as no skull has yet been disco 
vered, this identification is not so certain as could be wished. 
It is, however, beyond question that at a later era, namely, to 
wards the close of the stone and beginning of the bronze period, 
the lake-dwellers had succeeded in taming that formidable 
brute the Bos primigenius, the Urus of Caesar, which he de 
scribed as very fierce, swift, and strong, and scarcely inferior 
to the elephant in size. In a tame state its bones were some 
what less massive and heavy, and its horns were somewhat 
smaller than in wild individuals. Still in its domesticated 
form, it rivalled in dimensions the largest living cattle, those 
of Friesland, in North Holland, for example. When most 
abundant, as at Concise on the Lake of Neufchatel, it had 
nearly superseded the smaller race, Bos brachyceros, and 
was accompanied there for a short time by a third bovine 
variety, called Bos trochoceros, an Italian race, supposed to 

* Commentaries, lib. v. ch. 12. 


have been imported from the southern side of the Alps.* 
This last-mentioned race, however, seems only to have lasted 
for a short time in Switzerland. 

The wild bull (Bos primigenius') is supposed to have 
flourished for a while both in a wild and tame state, just 
as now in Europe the domestic pig co-exists with the wild 
boar ; and Biitimeyer agrees with Cuvier and Bell,f in con 
sidering our larger domestic cattle of northern Europe as 
the descendants of this wild bull, an opinion which Owen 
disputes. J 

In the later division of the stone period, there were two 
tame races of the pig, according to Kutimeyer ; one large, 
and derived from the wild boar, the other smaller, called the 
' marsh-hog,' or Sus Scrofa palustris. It may be asked how 
the osteologist can distinguish the tame from wild races of the 
same species by their skeletons alone. Among other cha 
racters, the diminished thickness of the bones and the com 
parative smallness of the ridges, which afford attachment to 
the muscles, are relied on ; also the smaller dimensions of the 
tusks in the boar, and of the whole jaw and skull ; and, in like 
manner, the diminished size of the horns of the bull and other 
modifications, which are the effects of a regular supply of food, 
and the absence of all necessity of exerting their activity and 
strength to obtain subsistence and defend themselves against 
their enemies. 

A middle-sized race of dogs continued unaltered through 
out the whole of the stone period; but the people of the 
bronze age possessed a larger hunting-dog, and with it a small 
horse, of which genus very few traces have been detected 
in the earlier settlements, a single tooth, for example, at 
Wangen, and only one or two bones at two or three other places. 

In passing from the oldest to the most modern sites, the 

* Caesar's Commentaries, lib. v. ch. f British Quadrupeds, p. 415. 

12, p. 161. j British Fossil Mammal, p. 500. 


extirpation of the elk and beaver, and the gradual reduction 
in numbers of the bear, stag, roe, and fresh-water tortoise are 
distinctly perceptible. The aurochs, or Lithuanian bison, ap 
pears to have died out in Switzerland about the time when 
weapons of bronze came into use. It is only in a few of the 
most modern lake-dwellings, such as Noville and Chavannes 
in the Canton de Vaud (which the antiquaries refer to 
the sixth century), that some traces are observable of the 
domestic cat, as well as of a sheep with crooked horns, and 
with them bones of the domestic fowl. 

After the sixth century, no extinction of any wild quad 
ruped nor introduction of any tame one appears to have taken 
place, but the fauna was still modified by the wild species con 
tinuing to diminish in number and the tame ones to become 
more diversified by breeding and crossing, especially in the 
case of the dog, horse, and sheep. On the whole, however, 
the divergence of the domestic races from their aboriginal 
wild types, as exemplified at Wangen and Moosseedorf, is con 
fined, according to Professor Riitimeyer, within narrow limits. 
As to the goat, it has remained nearly constant and true to 
its pristine form, and the small race of goat-horned sheep 
still lingers in some Alpine valleys in the Upper Rhine; 
and in the same region a race of pigs, corresponding to the 
domesticated variety ofSus Scrofapalustris, may still be seen. 

Amidst all this profusion of animal remains extremely few 
bones of man have been discovered ; and only one skull, 
dredged up from Meilen, on the Lake of Zurich, of the early 
stone period, seems as yet to have been carefully examined. 
Respecting this specimen, Professor His observes that it ex 
hibits, instead of the small and rounded form proper to the 
Danish peat-mosses, a type much more like that now pre 
vailing in Switzerland, which is intermediate between the 
long-headed and short-headed form.* 

* Riitimeyer, Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten in der Schweiz, p. 181. 


So far, therefore, as we can draw safe conclusions from a 
single specimen, there has been no marked change of race 
in the human population of Switzerland during the periods 
above considered. 

It is still a question whether any of these subaqueous 
repositories of ancient relics in Switzerland go back so far 
in time as the shell-mounds of Denmark, for in these last 
there are no domesticated animals except the dog, and no 
signs of the cultivation of wheat or barley ; whereas we have 
seen that, in one of the oldest of the Swiss settlements, at 
Wangen, no less than three cereals make their appearance, 
with four kinds of domestic animals. Yet there is no small 
risk of error in speculating on the relative claims to an 
tiquity of such ancient tribes, for some of them may have 
remained isolated for ages and stationary in their habits, 
while others advanced and improved. 

We know that nations, both before and after the introduc 
tion of metals, may continue in very different sta,ges of civi 
lisation, even after commercial intercourse has been es 
tablished between them, and where they are separated by 
a less distance than that which divides the Alps from the 

The attempts of the Swiss geologists and archeologists to es 
timate definitely in years the antiquity of the bronze and stone 
periods, although as yet confessedly imperfect, deserve notice, 
and appear to me to be full of promise. The most elaborate 
calculation is that made by M. Morlot, respecting the delta 
of the Tiniere, a torrent which flows into the Lake of Geneva 
near Villeneuve. This small delta, to which the stream is 
annually making additions, is composed of gravel and sand. 
Its shape is that of a flattened cone, and its internal structure 
has of late been laid open to view in a railway cutting one 
thousand feet long and thirty-two feet deep. The regularity 
of its structure throughout implies that it has been formed 


very gradually, and by the uniform action of the same causes. 
Three layers of vegetable soil, each of which must at one time 
have formed the surface of the cone, have been cut through 
at different depths. The first of these was traced over a sur 
face of 15,000 square feet, having an average thickness of 
five inches, and being about four feet below the present surface 
of the cone. This upper layer belonged to the Roman period, 
and contained Roman tiles and a coin. The second layer, 
followed over a surface of 25,000 square feet, was six inches 
thick, and lay at a depth of ten feet. In it were found 
fragments of unvarnished pottery and a pair of tweezers in 
bronze, indicating the bronze epoch. The third layer, fol 
lowed for 35,000 square feet, was six or seven inches thick, 
and nineteen feet deep. In it were fragments of rude pottery, 
pieces of charcoal, broken bones, and a human skeleton having 
a small, round, and very thick skull. M. Morlot, assuming 
the Roman period to represent an antiquity of from sixteen 
to eighteen centuries, assigns to the bronze age a date of 
between 3000 and 4000 years, and to the oldest layer, that of 
the stone period, an age of from 5000 to 7000 years. 

Another calculation has been made by M. Troyon to obtain 
the approximate date of the remains of an ancient settle 
ment built on piles and preserved in a peat-bog at Chamblon, 
near Yverdun, on the Lake of Neufchatel. The site of the 
ancient Roman town of Eburodunum (Yverdon), once on the 
borders of the lake, and between which and the shore there 
now intervenes a zone of newly-gained dry land, 2500 feet in 
breadth, shows the rate at which the bed of the lake has been 
filled up with river sediment in fifteen centuries. Assuming 
the lake to have retreated at the same rate before the Roman 
period, the pile-works of Chamblon, which are of the bronze 
period, must be at the least 3300 years old. 

For the third calculation, communicated to me by M. 
Morlot, we are indebted to M. Victor Grillieron, of Neuve- 


ville, on the Lake of Bienne. It relates to the age of a pile- 
dwelling, the mammalian bones of which are considered by 
M. Kiitimeyer to indicate the earliest portion of the stone 
period of Switzerland, and to correspond in age with the 
settlement of Moosseedorf. 

The piles in question occur at the Pont de Thiele, be 
tween the Lakes of Bienne and Neufchatel. The old con 
vent of St. Jean, founded 750 years ago, and built originally 
on the margin of the Lake of Bienne, is now at a con 
siderable distance from the shore, and affords a measure 
of the rate of the gain of land in seven centuries and a half. 
Assuming that a similar rate of the conversion of water 
into marshy land prevailed antecedently, we should re 
quire an addition of sixty centuries for the growth of the 
morass intervening between the convent and the aquatic 
dwelling of Pont de Thiele, in all 6750 years. M. Morlot, 
after examining the ground, thinks it highly probable that 
the shape of the bottom on which the morass rests is 
uniform ; but this important point has not yet been tested by 
boring. The result, if confirmed, would agree exceedingly 
well with the chronological computation before mentioned of 
the age of the stone period of Tiniere. As I have not myself 
visited Switzerland since these chronological speculations 
were first hazarded, I am unable to enter critically into a 
discussion of the objections which have been raised to the 
two first of them, or to decide on the merits of the explanations 
offered in reply. 

Irish Lake-dwellings, or Crannoges. 

The lake-dwellings of the British Isles, although not ex 
plored as yet with scientific zeal, as those of Switzerland have 
been in the last ten years, are yet known to be very nu 
merous, and when carefully examined will not fail to throw 
great light on the history of the bronze and stone periods. 


In the lakes of Ireland alone, no less than forty-six exam 
ples of artificial islands, called crannoges, have been dis 
covered. They occur in Leitrim, Roscommon, Cavan, Down, 
Monaghan, Limerick, Meath, King's County, and Tyrone.* 
One class of these f stockaded islands,' as they have been 
sometimes called, was formed, according to Mr. Digby Wyatt, 
by placing horizontal oak beams at the bottom of the lake, 
into which oak posts, from six to eight feet high, were mor 
tised, and held together by cross beams, till a circular en 
closure was obtained. 

A space of 520 feet diameter, thus inclosed at Lagore, was 
divided into sundry timbered compartments, which were found 
filled up with mud or earth, from which were taken 'vast 
quantities of the bones of oxen, swine, deer, goats, sheep, 
dogs, foxes, horses and asses.' All these were discovered be 
neath sixteen feet of bog, and were used for manure; but 
specimens of them are said to be preserved in the museum 
of the Royal Irish Academy. From the same spot were ob 
tained a great collection of antiquities, which, according to 
Lord Talbot de Malahide and Mr. Wylie, were refefeble to 
the ages of stone, bronze, and iron.| 

In Ardekillin Lake, in Roscommon, an islet of an oval form 
was observed, made of a layer of stones resting on logs of 
timber. Round this artificial islet or crannoge thus formed, 
was a stone wall raised on oak piles. A careful description 
has been put on record by Captain Mudge, R. N., of a curious 
log-cabin discovered by him in 1833 in Drumkellin bog, in 
Donegal, at a depth of fourteen feet from the surface. It was 
twelve feet square and nine feet high, being divided into two 
stories each four feet high. The planking was of oak split 
with wedges of stone, one of which was found in the building. 
The roof was flat. A staked inclosure had been raised round 

* Wylie, p. 8. 

f Ibid., p. 8, who cites Archaeological Journal, voL vi. p. 101. 


the cabin, and remains of other similar huts adjoining were 
seen but not explored. A stone celt, found in the interior of 
the hut, and a piece of leather sandal, also an arrow-head of 
flint, and in the bog close at hand a wooden sword, give 
evidence of the remote antiquity of this building, which may 
be taken as a type of the early dwellings on the Crannoge 

' The whole structure,' says Captain Mudge, ( was wrought 
with the rudest kind of implements, and the labour bestowed 
on it must have been immense. The wood of the mortises 
was more bruised than cut, as if by a blunt stone chisel.' * 
Such a chisel lay on the floor of the hut, and by comparing it 
with the marks of the tool used in forming the mortises, they 
were found ' to correspond exactly, even to the slight curved 
exterior of the chisel ; but the logs had been hewn by 
a larger instrument, in the shape of an axe. On the floor of 
the dwelling lay a slab of freestone, three feet long and four 
teen inches thick, in the centre of which was a small pit three 
quarters of an inch deep, which had been chiselled out. This 
is presumed to have been used for holding nuts to be cracked 
by means of one of the round shingle stones, also found there, 
which had served as a hammer. Some entire hazel-nuts and 
a great quantity of broken shells were strewed about the 

The foundations of the house were made of fine sand, such 
as is found with shingle on the sea-shore about two miles 
distant. Below the layer of sand the bog or peat was ascer 
tained, on probing it with an instrument, to be at least fifteen 
feet thick. Although the interior of the building when dis 
covered was full of e bog ' or peaty matter, it seems when in 
habited to have been surrounded by growing trees, some of 
the trunks and roots of which are still preserved in their 

* Mudge, Archseologia, vol. xxvi. 


natural position. The depth of overlying peat affords no safe 
criterion for calculating the age of the cabin or village, for I 
have shown in the ' Principles of Geology' (ch. xlvi.j, that both 
in England and Ireland, within historical times, bogs have 
burst and sent forth great volumes of black mud, which has 
been known to creep over the country at a slow pace, flow 
ing somewhat at the rate of ordinary lava-currents, and some 
times overwhelming woods and cottages, and leaving a deposit 
upon them of bog-earth fifteen feet thick. 

None of these Irish lake-dwellings were built, like those 
of Helvetia, on platforms supported by piles deeply driven 
into the mud. f The Crannoge system of Ireland seems,' 
says Mr. Wylie, 'well nigh without a parallel in Swiss 













Delta and Alluvial Plain of the Nile. 

SOME new facts of high interest illustrating the geology of 
the alluvial land of Egypt were brought to light between 
the years 1851 and 1854, in consequence of investigations 
suggested to the Eoyal Society by Mr. Leonard Homer, and 
which were partly carried out at the expense of the Society. 
The practical part of the undertaking was entrusted by Mr. 
Homer to an Armenian officer of engineers, Hekekyan Bey, 
who had for many years pursued his scientific studies in 
England, and was in every way highly qualified for the task. 
It was soon found that to obtain the required information 
respecting the nature, depth, and contents of the Nile mud 
in various parts of the valley, a larger outlay was called for 
than had been originally contemplated. This expense the 
late viceroy, Abbas Pacha, munificently undertook to defray 


out of his treasury, and his successor, after his death, con 
tinued the operations with the same princely liberality. 

Several engineers and a body of sixty workmen were 
employed under the superintendence of Hekekyan Bey, men 
inured to the climate, and able to carry on the sinking of 
shafts and borings during the hot months, after the waters 
of the Nile had subsided, and in a season which would have 
been fatal to Europeans. 

The results of chief importance arising out of this enquiry 
were obtained from two sets of shafts and borings sunk at 
intervals in lines crossing the great valley from east to west. 
One of these consisted of no less than fifty-one pits and 
artesian perforations, made where the valley is sixteen miles 
wide from side to side between the Arabian and Lybian 
deserts, in the latitude of Heliopolis, about eight miles above 
the apex of the delta. The other line of borings and pits, 
twenty-seven in number, was in the parallel of Memphis, 
where the valley is only five miles broad. 

Everywhere in these sections the sediment passed through 
was similar in composition to the ordinary Nile mud of the 
present day, except near the margin of the valley, where thin 
layers of quartzose sand, such as is sometimes blown from the 
adjacent desert by violent winds, was observed to alternate 
with the loam. 

A remarkable absence of lamination and stratification was 
observed almost universally in the sediment brought up from 
all points except where the sandy layers above alluded to oc 
curred, the mud agreeing closely in character with the ancient 
loam of the Ehine, called loess. Mr. Horner attributes this 
want of all indication of successive deposition to the ex 
treme thinness of the film of matter which is thrown down 
annually on the great alluvial plain during the season of in 
undation. The tenuity of this layer must indeed be extreme, 
if the French engineers are tolerably correct in their estimate 


of the amount of sediment formed in a century, which they 
suppose not to exceed on the average five inches. When the 
waters subside, this thin layer of new soil, exposed to a hot sun, 
dries rapidly, and clouds of dust are raised by the winds. The 
superficial deposit, moreover, is disturbed almost everywhere 
by agricultural labours, and even were this not the case, the 
action of worms, insects, and the roots of plants would suffice 
to confound together the deposits of two successive years. 

All the remains of organic bodies, such as land-shells, and 
the bones of quadrupeds, found during the excavations be 
longed to living species. Bones of the ox, hog, dog, dromedary, 
and ass were not uncommon, but no vestiges of extinct mam 
malia. No marine shells were anywhere detected ; but this 
was to be expected, as the borings, though they sometimes 
reached as low as the level of the Mediterranean, were never 
carried down below it, a circumstance much to be regretted, 
since where artesian perforations have been made in deltas, 
as in those of the Po and Granges, to the depth of several 
hundred feet below the sea level, it has been found, contrary 
to expectation, that the deposits passed through were fluvia- 
tile throughout, implying, probably, that a general subsidence 
of those deltas and alluvial formations has taken place. 
Whether there has been in like manner a sinking of the land in 
Egypt, we have as yet no means of proving ; but Sir Gardner 
Wilkinson infers it from the position in the delta on the shore 
near Alexandria of the tombs commonly called Cleopatra's 
Baths, which cannot, he says, have been originally built so as 
to be exposed to the sea which now fills them, but must have 
stood on land above the level of the Mediterranean. The same 
author adduces, as additional signs of subsidence, some ruined 
towns, now half under water, in the Lake Menzaleh, and 
channels of ancient arms of the Nile submerged with their 
banks beneath the waters of that same lagoon. 

In some instances, the excavations made under the super- 

D 2 

36 BORINGS IN EGYPT IN 1851-1858. CHAP. in. 

intendence of Hekekyan Bey were on a large scale for the 
first sixteen or twenty-four feet, in which cases jars, vases, 
pots, and a small human figure in burnt clay, a copper knife, 
and other entire articles were dug up ; but when water soaking 
through from the Nile was reached, the boring instrument used 
was too small to allow of more than fragments of works of art 
being brought up. Pieces of burnt brick and pottery were 
extracted almost everywhere, and from all depths, even where 
they sank sixty feet below the surface towards the central parts 
of the valley. In none of these cases did they get to the bottom 
of the alluvial soil. It has been objected, among other criti 
cisms, that the Arabs can always find whatever their employers 
desire to obtain. Even those who are too well acquainted with 
the sagacity and energy of Hekekyan Bey to suspect him of 
having been deceived, have suggested that the artificial objects 
might have fallen into old wells which had been filled up. 
This notion is inadmissible for many reasons. Of the ninety- 
five shafts and borings, seventy or more were made far from 
the sites of towns or villages ; and allowing that every field 
may once have had its well, there would be but small chance 
of the borings striking upon the site even of a email number 
of them in seventy experiments. 

Others have suggested that the Nile may have wandered 
over the whole valley, undermining its banks on one side 
and filling up old channels on the other. It has also been 
asked whether the delta with the numerous shifting arms of 
the river may not once have been at every point where 
the auger pierced.* To all these objections there are two 
obvious answers: First, in historical times the Nile has on 
the whole been very stationary, and has not shifted its position 
in the valley ; secondly, if the mud pierced through had been 
thrown down by the river in ancient channels, it would have 

* For a detailed account of these Philosophical Transactions for 1855- 
sections, see Mr. Horner's paper in the 1858. 

CHAP. m. BORINGS IN EGYPT IN 1851-1858. 37 

been stratified, and would not have corresponded so closely 
with inundation mud. We learn from Captain Newbold that 
he observed in some excavations in the great plain alternations 
of sand and clay, such as are seen in the modern banks of the 
Nile ; but in the borings made by Hekekyan Bey, such strati 
fication seems scarcely in any ease to have been detected. 

The great aim of the criticisms above enumerated has been 
to get rid of the supposed anomaly of finding burnt brick and 
pottery at depths and places which would give them claim 
to an antiquity far exceeding that of the Eoman domination 
in Egypt. For until the time of the Eomans, it is said, no 
clay was burnt into bricks in the valley of the Nile. But a 
distinguished antiquary, Mr. S. Birch, assures me that this 
notion is altogether erroneous, and that he has under his 
charge in the British Museum, first, a small rectangular baked 
brick, which came from a Theban tomb, which bears the 
name of Thothmes, a superintendent of the granaries of the god 
Amen Ea, the style of art, inscription, and name, showing that 
it is as old as the 18th dynasty (about 1450 B.C.) ; secondly, 
an arched brick, or one which with others made up an arch, 
having an inscription, partly obliterated, but ending with the 
words ' of the temple of Amen Ea.' This brick, decidedly 
long anterior to the Eoman dominion, is referred conjec- 
turally, by Mr. Birch, to the 19th dynasty, or 1300 B.C. 

M. Grirard, of the French expedition to Egypt, supposed 
the average rate of the increase of Nile mud on the plain 
between Asouan and Cairo to be five English inches in a 
century. This conclusion, according to Mr. Horner, is very 
vague, and founded on insufficient data; the amount of 
matter thrown down by the waters in different parts of the 
plain varying so much, that to strike an average with any 
approach to accuracy must be most difficult. Were we to 
assume six inches in a century, the burnt brick met with at a 
depth of sixty feet would be 12,000 years old. 

38 BORINGS IN EGYPT IN 1851-1858. CHAP. m. 

Another fragment of red brick was found by Linant Bey, 
in a boring seventy-two feet deep, being two or three feet 
below the level of the Mediterranean, in the parallel of 
the apex of the delta, 200 metres distant from the river, 
on the Libyan side of the Eosetta branch.* M. Eosiere, 
in the great French work on Egypt, has estimated the 
mean rate of deposit of sediment in the delta at two inches 
and three lines in a century f ; were we to take two and a 
half inches, a work of art seventy-two feet deep must have 
been buried more than 30,000 years ago. But if the boring 
of Linant Bey was made where an arm of the river had been 
silted up at a time when the apex of the delta was somewhat 
farther south, or more distant from the sea than now, the 
brick in question might be comparatively very modern. 

The experiments instituted by Mr. Homer, in the hope of 
obtaining an accurate chronometric scale for testing the age 
of a given thickness of Nile sediment, are not considered by 
experienced Egyptologists to have been satisfactory. The 
point sought to be determined was the exact amount of Nile 
mud which had accumulated in 3000 or more years, since the 
time when certain ancient monuments, such as the obelisk 
at Heliopolis, or the statue of king Eamesses at Memphis, 
are supposed by some antiquaries to have been erected. 
Could we have obtained possession of such a measure, 
the rate of deposition might be judged of, approximately 
at least, whenever similar mud was observed in other 
places, or below the foundations of those same monu 
ments. But the ancient Egyptians are known to have been 
in the habit of enclosing with embankments, the areas on 
which they erected temples, statues, and obelisks, so as to 
exclude the waters of the Nile ; and the point of time to be 
ascertained, in every case where we find a monument buried 

* Horner, Philosophical Transactions, 1858. 

f Description de 1'Egypte (Histoire Naturelle, torn. ii. p. 494). 


to a certain depth in mud, as at Memphis and Heliopolis, is 
the era when the city fell into such decay that the ancient 
embankments were neglected, and the river allowed to in 
undate the site of the temple, obejisk, or statue. 

Even if we knew the date of the abandonment of such 
embankments, the enclosed areas would not afford a favour 
able opportunity for ascertaining the average rate of deposit 
in the alluvial plain ; for Herodotus tells us that in his time 
those spots from which the Nile waters had been shut out 
for centuries appeared sunk, and could be looked down into 
from the surrounding grounds, which had been raised by the 
gradual accumulation over them of sediment annually thrown 
down. If the waters at length should break into such de 
pressions, they must at first carry with them into the enclosure 
much mud washed from the steep surrounding banks, so that 
a greater quantity would be deposited in a few years than 
perhaps in as many centuries on the great plain outside the 
depressed area, where no such disturbing causes intervened. 

Ancient Mounds of the Valley of the Ohio. 

As I have already given several European examples of 
monuments of pre-historic date belonging to the recent 
period, I will now turn to the American continent. Before 
the scientific investigation by Messrs. Squier and Davis of the 
6 Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley,'* no one 
suspected that the plains of that river had been occupied, for 
ages before the French and British colonists settled there, by 
a nation of older date, and more advanced in the arts than 
the Eed Indians whom the Europeans found there. There 
are hundreds of large mounds in the basin of the Mississippi, 
and especially in the valleys of the Ohio and its tributaries, 
which have served, some of them for temples, others for out- 

* Smithsonian Contributions, vol. i., 1847. 


look or defence, and others for sepulture. The unknown 
people by whom they were constructed, judging by the form 
of several skulls dug out of the burial-places, were of the 
Mexican or Toltecan race. Some of the earthworks are on 
so grand a scale as to embrace areas of fifty or a hundred 
acres within a simple enclosure, and the solid contents of 
one mound are estimated at twenty millions of cubic feet, so 
that four of them would be more than equal in bulk to the 
Great Pyramid of Egypt, which comprises seventy-five 
millions. From several of these repositories pottery and 
ornamental sculpture have been taken, and various ar 
ticles in silver and copper, also stone weapons, some com 
posed of hornstone unpolished, and much resembling in 
shape some ancient flint implements found near Amiens and 
other places in Europe, to be alluded to in the sequel. 

It is clear that the Ohio mound-builders had commercial 
intercourse with the natives of distant regions, for among 
the buried articles some are made of native copper from 
Lake Superior, and there are also found mica from the 
Alleghanies, sea-shells from the Gulf of Mexico, and obsidian 
from the Mexican mountains. 

The extraordinary number of the mounds implies a long 
period, during which a settled agricultural population had 
made considerable progress in civilization, so as to require large 
temples for their religious rites, and extensive fortifications to 
protect them from their enemies. The mounds were almost all 
confined to fertile valleys or alluvial plains, and some at least 
are so ancient, that rivers have had time since their con 
struction to encroach on the lower terraces which support 
them, and again to recede for the distance of nearly a mile, 
after having undermined and destroyed a part of the works. 
When the first European settlers entered the valley of the 
Ohio, they found the whole region covered with an uninter 
rupted forest, and tenanted by the Eed Indian hunter, who 


roamed over it without any fixed abode, or any traditionary 
connection with his more civilized predecessors. The only 
positive data as yet obtained for calculating the minimum of 
time which must have elapsed since the mounds were aban 
doned, has been derived from the age and nature of the 
trees found growing on some of these earthworks. When I 
visited Marietta in 1842, Dr. Hildreth took me to one of 
the mounds, and showed me where he had seen a tree grow 
ing on it, the trunk of which when cut down displayed eight 
hundred rings of annual growth.* But the late General 
Harrison,, President in 1841 of the United States, who was well 
skilled in woodcraft, has remarked, in a memoir on this sub 
ject, that several generations of trees must have lived and 
died before the mounds could have been overspread with 
that variety of species which they supported when the white 
man first beheld them, for the number and kinds of trees 
were precisely the same as those which distinguished the 
surrounding forest. f We may be sure,' observed Harrison, 
( that no trees were allowed to grow so long as the earthworks 
were in use ; and when they were forsaken, the ground, like all 
newly cleared land in Ohio, would for a time be monopolised 
by one or two species of tree, such as the yellow locust and 
the ft lack or white walnut. When the individuals which were 
the first to get possession of the ground had died out one 
after the other, they would in many cases, instead of being 
replaced by the same species, be succeeded (by virtue of the 
law which makes a rotation of crops profitable in agriculture) 
by other kinds, till at last, after a great number of centuries 
(several thousand years, perhaps), that remarkable diversity 
of species characteristic of North America, and far exceeding 
what is seen in European forests, would be established.' 

* Lyell's Travels in North America, vol. ii. p. 29. 


Mounds of Santos in Brazil. 

I will next say a few words respecting certain human 
bones embedded in a solid rock at Santos in Brazil, to which 
I called attention in my Travels in America in 1842.* I then 
imagined the deposit containing them to be of submarine 
origin, an opinion which I have long ceased to entertain. 
We learn from a memoir of Dr. Meigs, that the River Santos 
nas undermined a large mound, fourteen feet in height, and 
about three acres in area, covered with trees, near the town 
of St. Paul, and has exposed to view many skeletons, all 
inclined at angles between 20 and 25, and all placed in a 
similar east and west position.f Seeing, in the Museum of 
Philadelphia, fragments of the calcareous stone or tufa from 
this spot, containing a human skull with teeth, and in the 
same matrix, oysters with serpulse attached, I at first con 
cluded that the whole deposit had been formed beneath the 
waters of the sea, or at least, that it had been submerged after 
its origin, and again upheaved; also, that there had been 
time since its emergence for the growth on it of a forest of 
large trees. But after reading again, with more care, the 
original memoir of Dr. Meigs, I cannot doubt that the shells, 
like those of eatable kinds, so often accumulated in the 
mounds of the North American Indians not far from the 
sea, may have been brought to the place and heaped up with 
other materials at the time when the bodies were buried. 
Subsequently, the whole artificial earthwork, with its shells 
and skeletons, may have been bound together into a solid 
stone by the infiltration of carbonate of lime, and the mound 
may therefore be of no higher antiquity than some of those 
above alluded to on the Ohio, which, as we have seen, have in 
like manner been exposed in the course of ages to the 
encroachments and undermining action of rivers. 

* Vol. i. p. 200. f Meigs, Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc., 1828, p. 285. 


Delta of the Mississippi. 

I have shown in my Travels in North America that the 
deposits forming the delta and alluvial plain of the Missis 
sippi consist of sedimentary matter, extending over an area of 
30,000 square miles, and known in some parts to be several 
hundred feet deep. Although we cannot estimate correctly 
how many years it may have required for the river to bring 
down from the upper country so large a quantity of earthy 
matter the data for such a computation being as yet 
incomplete we may still approximate to a minimum of the 
time which such an operation must have taken, by ascertain 
ing experimentally the annual discharge of water by the 
Mississippi, and the mean annual amount of solid matter 
contained in its waters. The lowest estimate of the time 
required would lead us to assign a high antiquity, amounting 
to many tens of thousands of years (probably more than 
100,000) to the existing delta. 

Whether all or how much of this formation may belong to 
the recent period, as above denned, I cannot pretend to 
decide, but in one part of the modern delta near New 
Orleans, a large excavation has been made for gas-works, 
where a succession of beds, almost wholly made up of 
vegetable matter, has been passed through, such as we now 
see forming in the cypress swamps of the neighbourhood, 
where the deciduous cypress (Taxodium distichum), with its 
strong and spreading roots, plays a conspicuous part. In this 
excavation, at the depth of sixteen feet from the surface, 
beneath four buried forests superimposed one upon the other, 
the workmen are stated by Dr. B. Dowler to have found 
some charcoal and a human skeleton, the cranium of which 
is said to belong to the aboriginal type of the Eed Indian 
race. As the discovery in question had not been made 
when I saw the excavation in progress at the gas-works in 


1846, 1 cannot form an opinion as to the value of the chrono 
logical calculations which have led Dr. Dowler to ascribe to 
this skeleton an antiquity of 50,000 years. In several sec 
tions, both natural in the banks of the Mississippi and its 
numerous arms, and where artificial canals had been cut, I ob 
served erect stumps of trees, with their roots attached, buried 
in strata at different heights, one over the other. I also re 
marked, that many cypresses which had been cut through, 
exhibited many hundreds of rings of annual growth, and 
it then struck me that nowhere in the world could the geo 
logist enjoy a more favourable opportunity for estimating in 
years the duration of certain portions of the recent epoch.* 

Coral Reefs of Florida. 

Professor Agassiz has described a low portion of the penin 
sula of Florida as consisting of numerous reefs of coral, which 
have grown in succession so as to give rise to a continual 
annexation of land, gained gradually from the sea in a 
southerly direction. This growth is still in full activity, and 
assuming the rate of advance of the land to be one foot in a 
century, the reefs being built up from a depth of seventy-five 
feet, and that each reef has in its turn added ten miles to the 
coast, Professor Agassiz calculates that it has taken 135,000 
years to form the southern half of this peninsula. Yet the 
whole is of post-tertiary origin, the fossil zoophytes and shells 
being all of the same species as those now inhabiting the 
neighbouring sea.f In a calcareous conglomerate forming 
part of the above-mentioned series of reefs, and supposed by 
Agassiz, in accordance with his mode of estimating the rate of 
growth of those reefs, to be about 10,000 years old, some 

* Dowler, cited by Dr. W. Usher, f Agassiz, in Nott and G-liddon, 

in Nott and Gliddon's Types of Man- ibid. p. 352. 
kind, p. 352. 


fossil human remains were found by Count PourtaKs. They 
consisted of jaws and teeth, with some bones of the foot. 

Recent Deposits of Seas and Lakes. 

I have shown, in the Principles of Greology, where the 
recent changes of the earth illustrative of geology are de 
scribed at length, that the deposits accumulated at the 
bottom of lakes and seas within the last 4000 or 5000 years 
can neither be insignificant in volume or extent. They lie 
hidden, for the most part, from our sight; but we have 
opportunities of examining them at certain points where 
newly-gained land in the deltas of rivers has been cut through 
during floods, or where coral reefs are growing rapidly, or 
where the bed of a sea or lake has been heaved up by sub 
terranean movements and laid dry. 

As examples of such changes of level by which marine 
deposits of the recent period have become accessible to human 
observation, I have adduced the strata near Naples in which 
the Temple of Serapis at Pozzuoli was entombed.* These 
upraised strata, the highest of which are about twenty-five 
feet above the level of the sea, form a terrace skirting the 
eastern shore of the Bay of Baiae. They consist partly of 
clay, partly of volcanic matter, and contain fragments of 
sculpture, pottery, and the remains of buildings, together 
with great numbers of shells, retaining in part their colour, 
and of the same species as those now inhabiting the neigh 
bouring sea. Their emergence can be proved to have taken 
place since the beginning of the sixteenth century. 

In the same work, as an example of a fresh-water deposit 
of the recent period, I have described certain strata in 
Cashmere, a country where violent earthquakes, attended by 

* Principles of Geology, Index, ' Serapis.' 


alterations in the level of the ground, are frequent, in which 
fresh-water shells of species now inhabiting the lakes and 
rivers of that region are embedded, together with the remains 
of pottery, often at the depth of fifty feet, and in which a 
splendid Hindoo temple has lately been discovered, and laid 
open to view by the removal of the lacustrine silt which had 
enveloped it for four or five centuries. 

In the same treatise (ch. xxix.) it is stated, that the west 
coast of South America, between the Andes and the Pacific, 
is a great theatre of earthquake movements, and that per 
manent upheavals of the land of several feet at a time have 
been experienced since the discovery of America. In various 
parts of the littoral region of Chili and Peru, strata have 
been observed enclosing shells in abundance, all agreeing 
specifically with those now swarming in the Pacific. In one 
bed of this kind, in the island of San Lorenzo, near Lima, 
Mr. Darwin found, at the altitude of eighty-five feet above the 
sea, pieces of cotton-thread, plaited rush, and the head of a 
stalk of Indian corn, the whole of which had evidently been 
embedded with the shells. At the same height, on the neigh 
bouring mainland, he found other signs corroborating the 
opinion that the ancient bed of the sea had there also been 
uplifted eighty-five feet since the region was first peopled by 
the Peruvian race. But similar shelly masses are also met with 
at much higher elevations, at innumerable points between 
the Chilian and Peruvian Andes and the sea-coast, in which 
no human remains have as yet been observed. The pre 
servation for an indefinite period of such perishable sub 
stances as thread is explained by the entire absence of rain 
in Peru. The same articles, had they been enclosed in the 
permeable sands of an European raised beach, or in any 
country where rain falls even for a small part of the year, 
would probably have disappeared entirely. 

In the literature of the last century, we find frequent allu- 


sion to the ' era of existing continents,' a period supposed to 
have coincided in date with the first appearance of man upon 
the earth, since which event it was imagined that the relative 
level of the sea and land had remained stationary, no im 
portant geographical changes having occurred, except some 
slight additions to the deltas of rivers, or the loss of narrow 
strips of land where the sea had encroached upon its shores. 
But modern observations have tended continually to dispel 
this delusion, and the geologist is now convinced that at no 
given era of the past have the boundaries of land and sea, or 
the height of the one and depth of the other, or the geogra 
phical range of the species inhabiting them, whether of animals 
or plants, become fixed and unchangeable. Of the extent to 
which fluctuations have been going on since the globe had 
already become the dwelling-place of man, some idea may be 
formed from the examples which I shall give in this and the 
next nine chapters. 

Upheaval since the Human Period of the Central 
District of Scotland. 

It has long been a fact familiar to geologists, that, both on 
the east and west coasts of the central part of Scotland, there 
are lines of raised beaches, containing marine shells of the 
same species as those now inhabiting the neighbouring sea.* 
The two most marked of these littoral deposits occur at 
heights of about forty and twenty-five feet above high-water 
mark, that of forty feet being considered as the more ancient, 
and owing its superior elevation to a longer continuance of 
the upheaving movement. They are seen in some places to 
rest on the boulder clay of the glacial period, which will be 
described in future chapters. 

* R. Chambers, ' Sea Margins ; ' Jordan Hill, Mem. Wern. Soc. vol. 
1848, and papers by Mr. Smith of viii., and by Mr. C. Maclaren. 


In those districts where large rivers, such as the Clyde, 
Forth, and Tay, enter the sea, the lower of the two deposits, 
or that of twenty-five feet, expands into a terrace fringing 
the estuaries, and varying in breadth from a few yards to 
several miles. Of this nature are the flat lands which occur 
along the margin of the Clyde at Glasgow, which consist of 
finely laminated sand, silt, and clay. Mr. John Buchanan, 
a zealous antiquary, writing in 1855, informs us, that in the 
course of the eighty years preceding that date, no less than 
seventeen canoes had been dug out of this estuarine silt, and 
that he had personally inspected a large number of them 
before they were exhumed. Five of them lay buried in silt 
under the streets of Grlasgow, one in a vertical position with 
the prow uppermost as if it had sunk in a storm. In the 
inside of it were a number of marine shells. Twelve other 
canoes were found about a hundred yards back from the 
river, at the average depth of about nineteen feet from the 
surface of the soil, or seven feet above high-water mark ; but 
a few of them were only four or five feet deep, and conse 
quently more than twenty feet above the sea-level. One was 
sticking in the sand at an angle of 45, another had been 
capsized, and lay bottom uppermost ; all the rest were in a 
horizontal position, as if they had sunk in smooth water.* 

Nearly all of these ancient boats were formed out of a single 
oak-stem, hollowed out by blunt tools, probably stone axes, 
aided by the action of fire ; a few were cut beautifully smooth, 
evidently with metallic tools. Hence a gradation could be 
traced from a pattern of extreme rudeness to one showing 
no small mechanical ingenuity. Two of them were built of 
planks, one of which, dug up on the property of Bankton 
in 1853, was eighteen feet in length, and very elaborately 
constructed. Its prow was not unlike the beak of an antique 

* GK Buchanan, Brit. Ass. Eep. 1855, p. 80 ; also Glasgow, Past and Present, 


galley ; its stern, formed of a triangular-shaped piece of oak, 
fitted in exactly like those of our day. The planks were 
fastened to the ribs, partly by singularly shaped oaken pins, 
and partly by what must have been square nails of some 
kind of metal ; these had entirely disappeared, but some of 
the oaken pins remained. This boat had been upset, and 
was lying keel uppermost, with the prow pointing straight up 
the river. In one of the canoes, a beautifully polished celt 
or axe of greenstone was found, in the bottom of another a 
plug of cork, which, as Mr. Greikie remarks, " could only have 
come from the latitudes of Spain, Southern France, or Italy." * 

There can be no doubt that some of these buried vessels 
are of far more ancient date, than others. Those most 
roughly hewn, may be relics of the stone period ; those more 
smoothly cut, of the bronze age ; and the regularly built boat 
of Bankton may perhaps come within the age of iron. The 
occurrence of all of them in one and the same upraised 
marine formation by no means implies that they belong 
to the same era, for in the beds of all great rivers and 
estuaries, there are changes continually in progress brought 
about by the deposition, removal, and redeposition of gravel, 
sand, and fine sediment, and by the shifting of the channel 
of the main currents from year to year, and from century to 
century. All these it behoves the geologist and antiquary 
to bear in mind, so as to be always on their guard, when 
they are endeavouring to settle the relative date, whether of 
objects of art or of organic remains embedded in any set 
of alluvial strata. Some judicious observations on this head 
occur in Mr. Greikie's memoir above cited, which are so much 
in point that I shall give them in full, and in his own words. 

( The relative position in the silt, from which the canoes 
were exhumed, could help us little in any attempt to ascer- 

* Geikie, G-eol. Quart. Jcnirn. vol. xviii., p. 224. 


tain their relative ages, unless they had been found vertically 
above each other. The varying depths of an estuary, its 
banks of silt and sand, the set of its currents, and the in 
fluence of its tides in scouring out alluvium from some parts 
of its bottom and redepositing it in others, are circumstances 
which require to be taken into account in all such calculations. 
Mere coincidence of depth from the present surface of the 
ground, which is tolerably uniform in level, by no means 
necessarily proves contemporaneous deposition. Nor would 
such an inference follow even from the occurrence of the 
remains in distant parts of the very same stratum. A canoe 
might be capsized and sent to the bottom just beneath low- 
water mark ; another might experience a similar fate on the 
following day, but in the middle of the channel. Both 
would become silted up on the floor of the estuary ; but as 
that floor would be perhaps twenty feet deeper in the centre 
than towards the margin of the river, the one canoe might 
actually be twenty feet deeper in the alluvium than the other ; 
and on the upheaval of the alluvial deposits, if we were to 
argue merely from the depth at which the remains were 
embedded, we should pronounce the canoe found at the one 
locality to be immensely older than the other, seeing that the 
fine mud of the estuary is deposited very slowly and that it 
must therefore have taken a long period to form so great a 
thickness as twenty feet. Again, the tides and currents of 
the estuary, by changing their direction, might sweep away 
a considerable mass of alluvium from the bottom, laying bare 
a canoe that may have foundered many centuries before. 
After the lapse of so long an interval, another vessel might go 
to the bottom in the same locality, and be there covered up 
with the older one, on the same general plane. These two 
vessels, found in such a position, would naturally be classed 
together as of the same age, and yet it is demonstrable that a 
very loDg period may have elapsed between the date of the 


one and that of the other. Such an association of these 
canoes, therefore, cannot be regarded as proving synchronous 
deposition ; nor, on the other hand can we affirm any 
difference of age from mere relative position, unless we see 
one canoe actually buried beneath another.'* 

At the time when the ancient vessels, above described, 
were navigating the waters, where the city of Glasgow now 
stands, the whole of the low lands which bordered the 
present estuary of the Clyde, formed the bed of a shallow 
sea. The emergence appears to have taken place gradually 
and by intermittent movements, for Mr. Buchanan describes 
several narrow terraces one above the other on the site of the 
city itself, with steep intervening slopes composed of the 
laminated estuary formation. Each terrace and steep slope 
probably mark pauses in the process of upheaval, during 
which low cliffs were formed, with beaches at their base. 
Five of the canoes were found within the precincts of the 
city at different heights on or near such terraces. 

As to the date of the upheaval, the greater part of it 
cannot be assigned to the stone period, but must have taken 
place after tools of metal had come into use. 

Until lately, when attempts were made to estimate the 
probable antiquity of such changes of level, it was confidently 
assumed, as a safe starting-point, that no alteration had oc 
curred in the relative level of land and sea, in the central 
district of Scotland, since the construction of the Eoman or 
Pictish wall (the ' Wall of Antonine '), which reached from 
the Firth of Forth to that of the Clyde. The two extremities, 
it was said, of this ancient structure, bear such a relation to 
the present level of the two estuaries, that neither subsidence 
nor elevation of the land could have occurred for seven 
teen centuries at least. 

But Mr. G-eikie has lately shown that a depression of 

* Geikie, Geol. Quart. Journ. vol. xviii., p. 222. 1862. 
E 2 


twenty-five feet on the Forth would not lay the eastern 
extremity of the Eoman wall at Carriden under water, and 
he was therefore desirous of knowing whether the western 
end of the same would be submerged by a similar amount of 
subsidence. It has always been acknowledged that the wall 
terminated upon an eminence called the Chapel Hill, near 
the village of West Kilpatrick, on the Clyde. The foot of 
this hill, Mr. Greikie estimates to be about twenty-five or 
twenty-seven feet above high-water mark, so that a subsi 
dence of twenty-five feet could not lay it under water. Anti 
quaries have sometimes wondered that the Eomans did not 
carry the wall farther west than this Chapel Hill ; but Mr. 
Greikie now suggests, in explanation, that all the low land 
at present intervening between that point and the mouth of 
the Severn, was, sixteen or seventeen centuries ago, washed 
by the tides at high water. 

The wall of Antonine, therefore, yields no evidence in 
favour of the land having remained stationary since the time 
of the Komans, but on the contrary, appears to indicate that 
since its erection the land has actually risen. Eecent explo 
rations by Mr. Geikie and Dr. Young, of the sites of the old 
Roman harbours along the southern margin of the Firth of 
Forth, lead to similar inferences. In the first place, it has 
long been known that there is a raised beach containing 
marine shells of living littoral species, about twenty-five feet 
high, at Leith, as well as at other places along the coast above 
and below Edinburgh. Inveresk, a few miles below that city, 
is the site of an ancient Eoman port, and if we suppose the 
sea at high water to have washed the foot of the heights on 
which the town stood, the tide would have ascended far up 
the valley of the Esk, and would have made the mouth of 
that river a safe and commodious harbour ; whereas, had it 
been a shoaling estuary, as at present, it is difficult to see 
how the Eomans should have made choice of it as a port. 


At Cramond, at the mouth of the river Almond, above 
Edinburgh, was Alaterva, the chief Eoman harbour on the 
southern coast of the Forth, where numerous coins, urns, 
sculptured stones, and the remnant of a harbour have been 
detected. The old Eoman quays built along what must then 
have been the sea margin, have been found on what is now dry 
land, and although some silt carried down in suspension by 
the waters of the Forth may account for a part of the gain 
of low land, we yet require an upward movement of about 
twenty feet to explain the growth of the dreary expanse of 
mud now stretching along the shore and extending out 
wards, where it attains its greatest breadth, well-nigh two 
miles, across which vessels, even of light burden can now 
only venture at full tide. Had these shoals existed eighteen 
centuries ago, they would have prevented the Eomans from 
selecting this as their chief port ; whereas, if the land were 
now to sink twenty feet, Cramond would unquestionably be 
the best natural harbour along the whole of the south side of 
the Forth.* 

Corresponding in level with the raised beach at Leith, 
above mentioned (or about twenty-five feet above high- water 
mark), is the Carse of Stirling, a low tract of land consisting 
of loamy and peaty beds, in which several skeletons of whales 
of large size have been found. One of these was dug up 
at Airthrief, near Stirling, about a mile from the river, and 
seven miles from the sea. Mr. Bald mentions, that near it 
were found two pieces of stag's horn, artificially cut, through 
one of which a hole, about an inch in diameter, had been per 
forated. Another whale, eighty-five feet long, was found at 
Dimmore, a few miles below Stirling J, which, like that of 
Airthrie, lay about twenty feet above high-water mark. Three 

* Greikie, Edinb. New Phil. Journ. "Wernerian Society, iii. p. 327. 
for July 1861. J Edinburgh Philosophical Jour- 

f Bald, Edinburgh Philosophical nal, xi. pp. 220, 415. 
Journal, i. p. 393; and Memoirs, 


other skeletons of whales were found at Blair Drummond, 
between the years 1819 and 1824, seven miles up the estuary 
above Stirling*, also at an elevation of between twenty and 
thirty feet above the sea. Near two of these whales, pointed 
instruments of deer's horn were found, one of which retained 
part of a wooden handle, probably preserved by having been 
enclosed in peat. This weapon is now in the museum at 

The position of these fossil whales and bone implements, 
and still more of an iron anchor found in the Carse of Falkirk, 
below Stirling, shows that the upheaval by which the 
raised beach of Leith was laid dry extended far westward 
probably as far as the Clyde, where, as we have seen, marine 
strata containing buried canoes rise to a similar height above 
the sea. 

The same upward movement which reached simultaneously 
east and west from sea to sea was also felt as far north as 
the estuary of the Tay. This may be inferred from the Celtic 
name of Inch being attached to many hillocks, which rise 
above the general level of the alluvial plains, implying that 
these eminences were once surrounded by water or marshy 
ground. At various localities also in the silt of the Carse 
of Growrie iron implements have been found. 

The raised beach, also containing a great number of marine 
shells of recent species, traced up to a height of fourteen feet 
above the sea by Mr. W. J. Hamilton at Elie, on the 
southern coast of Fife, is doubtless another effect of the 
same extensive upheaval. f A similar movement would also 
account for some changes which antiquaries have recorded 
much farther south, on the borders of the Solway Frith ; 
though in this case, as in that of the estuary of the Forth, 
the conversion of sea into land has always been referred 

* Memoirs, Wernerian Society, r. f Proceedings of Geological Society, 
p. 440. 1833, vol. ii. p. 280. 


to the silting up of estuaries, and not to upheaval. Thus 
Horsley insists on the difficulty of explaining the position of 
certain Eoman stations, on the Solway, the Forth, and the 
Clyde, without assuming that the sea has been excluded from 
certain areas which it formerly occupied.* 

On a review of the whole evidence, geological and archaBo- 
logical, afforded by the Scottish coast-line, we may conclude 
that the last upheaval of twenty-five feet took place not only 
since the first human population settled in the island ; but 
long after metallic implements had come into use, and there 
seems even a strong presumption in favour of the opinion 
that the date of the elevation may have been subsequent to 
the Eoman occupation. 

But the twenty-five feet rise is only the last stage of a long 
antecedent process of elevation, for examples of recent marine 
shells have been observed forty feet and upwards above the sea 
in Ayrshire. At one of these localities, Mr. Smith of Jordan- 
hill informs me that a rude ornament made of cannel coal 
has been found on the coast in the parish of Dundonald, 
lying fifty feet above the sea-level, on the surface of the 
boulder-clay or till, and covered with gravel, containing 
marine shells. If we suppose the upward movement to 
have been uniform in central Scotland before and after the 
Eoman era, and assume that as twenty-five feet indicate 
seventeen centuries, so fifty feet imply a lapse of twice that 
number, or 3400 years, we should then carry back the date 
of the ornament in question to fifteen centuries before our era, 
or to the days of Pharaoh, and the period usually assigned 
to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. 

But all such estimates must be considered, in the present 
state of science, as tentative and conjectural, since the rate 
of movement of the land may not have been uniform, and its 

* Britannia, p. 157. I860. 


direction not always upwards, and there may have been long 
stationary periods, one of which of more than usual duration 
seems indicated by the forty foot raised beach, which has 
been traced for vast distances along the western coast of 

Coast of Cornwall. 

Sir H. De la Beche has adduced several proofs of changes 
of level, in the course of the human period, in his ' Report on 
the Geology of Cornwall and Devon for 1839.' He mentions 
(p. 406) that several human skulls and works of art, buried 
in an estuary deposit, were found in mining gravel for tin, at 
Pertuan, the skulls lying at the depth of forty feet from the 
surface, and others at Carnon, at the depth of fifty-three feet. 
The overlying strata were marine, containing sea-shells of 
living species, and bones of whales, besides the remains of 
several living species of mammalia. 

Other examples of works of art, such as stone hatchets, 
canoes, and ships, buried in ancient river-beds in England, 
and in peat and shell-marl, I have mentioned in my work 
before cited.* 

Sweden and Norway. 

In the same work I have shown that near Stockholm, in 
Sweden, there occur, at slight elevations above the sea-level, 
horizontal beds of sand, loam, and marl, containing the same 
peculiar assemblage of testacea which now live in the brackish 
waters of the Baltic. Mingled with these, at different depths, 
have been detected various works of art implying a rude state 
of civilization, and some vessels built before the introduction of 
iron, and even the remains of an ancient hut, the whole ma 
rine formation having been upraised, so that the upper beds 

* Principles of Geology. 


are now sixty feet higher than the surface of the Baltic. In 
the neighbourhood of these recent strata, both to the north 
west and south of Stockholm, other deposits similar in mineral 
composition occur, which ascend to greater heights, in which 
precisely the same assemblage of fossil shells is met with, but 
without any intermixture, so far as is yet known, of human 
bones or fabricated articles. 

On the opposite or western coast of Sweden, at Uddevalla, 
post-tertiary strata, containing recent shells, not of that 
brackish water character peculiar to the Baltic, but such as 
now live in the Northern Ocean, ascend to the height of 
200 feet; and beds of clay and sand of the same age attain 
elevations of 300 and even 600 feet in Norway, where they 
have been usually described as ' raised beaches.' They are, 
however, thick deposits of submarine origin, spreading far 
and wide, and filling valleys in the granite and gneiss, just 
as the tertiary formations, in different parts of Europe, cover 
or fill depressions in the older rocks. 

Although the fossil fauna characterising these upraised 
sands and clays consists exclusively of existing northern 
species of testacea, it is more than probable that they may 
not all belong to that division of the post-tertiary strata 
which we are now considering. If the contemporary mam 
malia were known, they would, in all likelihood, be found to 
be referable, at least in part, to extinct species ; for, according 
to Loven (an able living naturalist of Norway), the species 
do not constitute such an assemblage as now inhabits corre 
sponding latitudes in the Grerman Ocean. On the contrary, 
they decidedly represent a more arctic fauna. In order to 
find the same species nourishing in equal abundance, or in 
many cases to find them at all, we must go northwards to 
higher latitudes than Uddevalla in Sweden, or even nearer 
the pole than Central Norway. 

Judging by the uniformity of climate now prevailing from 


century to century, and the insensible rate of variation in. 
the geographical distribution of organic beings in our own 
times, we may presume that an extremely lengthened period 
was required, even for so slight a modification in the range 
of the. molluscous fauna, as that of which the evidence is 
here brought to light. There are also other independent 
reasons for suspecting that the antiquity of these deposits 
may be indefinitely great as compared to the historical 
period. I allude to their present elevation above the sea, 
some of them rising, in Norway, to the height of 600 feet 
or more. The upward movement now in progress in parts 
of Norway and Sweden, extends, as I have elsewhere shown*, 
throughout an area about 1000 miles north and south, and 
for an unknown distance east and west, the amount of eleva 
tion always increasing as we proceed towards the North Cape, 
where it is said to equal five feet in a century. If we could 
assume that there had been an average rise of two and a half 
feet in each hundred years for the last fifty centuries, this 
would give an elevation of 125 feet in that period. In other 
words, it would follow that the shores, and a considerable 
area of the former bed of the North Sea, had been uplifted 
vertically to that amount, and converted into land in the 
course of the last 5000 years. A mean rate of continuous 
vertical elevation of two and a half feet in a century would, 
I conceive, be a high average ; yet, even if this be assumed, 
it would require 24,000 years for parts of the sea-coast of 
Norway, where the post-tertiary marine strata occur, to attain 
the height of 600 feet. 

* Principles, 9th ed. ch. xxx. 















HAVING- hitherto considered those formations in which 
both the fossil shells and the mammalia are of living 
species, we may now turn our attention to those of older 
date, in which the shells being all recent, some of the ac 
companying mammalia are extinct, or belong to species not 
known to have lived within the times of history or tradition. 

Discoveries of MM. Tournal and Christol in 1828, in the 
South of France. ' 

In the Principles of Geology, when treating of the 
fossil remains found in alluvium, and the mud of caverns, I 
gave an account in 1832 of the investigations made by 
MM. Tournal and Christol in the South of France.* 

M. Tournal stated in his memoir, that in the cavern of 
Bize, in the department of the Aude, he had found human 
bones and teeth, together with fragments of rude pottery, in 

* let ed. vol. ii. ch. xiv., 1832 ; and 9th ed. p. 738, 1853. 


the same mud and breccia cemented by stalagmite in which 
land-shells of living species were embedded, and the bones 
of mammalia, some of extinct, others of recent species. The 
human bones were declared by his fellow-labourer, M. Marcel 
de Serres, to be in the same chemical condition as those of 
the accompanying quadrupeds.* 

Speaking of these fossils of the Bize cavern five years 
later, M. Tournal observed, that they could not be referred, 
as some suggested, to a ' diluvial catastrophe,' for they 
evidently had not been washed in suddenly by a transient 
flood, but must have been introduced gradually, together 
with the enveloping mud and pebbles, at successive periods. f 

M. Christol, who was engaged at the same time in 
similar researches in another part of Languedoc, published an 
account of them a year later, in which he described some 
human bones, as occurring in the cavern of Pondres, near 
Nismes, in the same mud with the bones of an extinct hyaena 
and rhinoceros. :f The cavern was in this instance filled up 
to the roof with mud and gravel, in which fragments of two 
kinds of pottery were detected, the lowest and rudest near 
the bottom of the cave, below the level of the extinct mam 

It has never been questioned that the hysena and rhinoceros 
found by M. Christol were of extinct species ; but whether 
the animals enumerated by M. Tournal might not all of them 
be referred to quadrupeds which are known to have been 
living in Europe in the historical period seems doubtful. 
They were said to consist of a stag, an antelope, and a goat, 
all named by M. Marcel de Serres as new; but the majority 
of paleontologists do not agree with this opinion. Still it is 
true, as M. Lartet remarks, that the fauna of the cavern of 

* Annales des Sciences Naturelles, J Christol, Notice surles Ossements 

torn. xv. p. 348 : 1 828. humains des Cavernes du Gard. Mont- 

f Annales de Chimie et de Phy- pellier, 1829. 
sique, p. 161 : 1833. 


Bize must be of very high antiquity, as shown by the pre 
sence, not only of the Lithuanian aurochs (Bison europoeus), 
but also of the reindeer, which has not been an inhabitant 
of the South of France in historical times, and which, in that 
country, is almost everywhere associated, whether in ancient 
alluvium or in the mud of caverns, with the mammoth. 

In my> work before cited *, I stated that M. Desnoyers, 
an observer equally well versed in geology and archaeology, 
had disputed the conclusion arrived at by MM. Tournal and 
Christol, that the fossil rhinoceros, hysena, bear, and other 
lost species, had once been inhabitants of France contem 
poraneously with man. * The flint hatchets and arrow-heads ' 
he said, ' and the pointed bones and coarse pottery of many 
French and English caves, agree precisely in character with 
those found in the tumuli, and under the dolmens (rude 
altars of unhewn stone) of the primitive inhabitants of Gaul, 
Britain, and Germany. The human bones, therefore, in the 
caves which are associated with such fabricated objects, must 
belong not to antediluvian periods, but to a people in the 
same stage of civilization as those who constructed the 
tumuli and altars.' 

f In the Gaulish monuments,' he added, f we find, together 
with the objects of industry above mentioned, the bones of 
wild and domestic animals of species now inhabiting Europe, 
particularly of deer, sheep, wild boars, dogs, horses, and 
oxen. This fact has been ascertained in Quercy, and other 
provinces ; and it is supposed by antiquaries that the animals 
in question were placed beneath the Celtic altars in memory 
of sacrifices offered to the Gaulish divinity Hesus, and in the 
tombs to commemorate funeral repasts, and also from a 
superstition prevalent among savage nations, which induces 
them to lay up provisions for the manes of the dead in a 

* Principles, 9th eel. p. 739. 


future life. But in none of these ancient monuments have 
any bones been found of the elephant, rhinoceros, hyaena, 
tiger, and other quadrupeds, such as are found in caves, 
which might certainly have been expected, had these species 
continued to flourish at the time that this part of Gaul was 
inhabited by man.'* 

After giving no small weight to the arguments of M. Des- 
noyers, and the writings of Dr. Buckland on the same subject, 
and visiting myself several caves in Germany, I came to the 
opinion that the human bones mixed with those of extinct 
animals, in osseous breccias and cavern mud, in different 
parts of Europe, were probably not coeval. The caverns 
having been at one period the dens of wild beasts, and having 
served at other times as places of human habitation, worship, 
sepulture, concealment, or defence, one might easily conceive 
that the bones of man and those of animals, which were 
strewed over the floors of subterranean cavities, or which 
had fallen into tortuous rents connecting them with the 
surface, might, when swept away by floods, be mingled in 
one promiscuous heap in the same ossiferous mud or 

That such intermixtures have really taken place in some 
caverns, and that geologists have occasionally been deceived, 
and have assigned to one and the same period fossils which 
had really been introduced at successive times, will readily 
be conceded. But of late years we have obtained convincing 
proofs, as we shall see in the sequel, that the mammoth, and 
many other extinct mammalian species very common in caves, 
occur also in undisturbed alluvium, embedded in such a 
manner with works of art, as to leave no room for doubt 
that man and the 'mammoth coexisted. Such discoveries have 

* Desnoyers, Bulletin de la Societe Universelle d'Histoire Naturelle. Pa- 
Geologique de France, torn. ii. p. 252 ; ris, 1845. 
and article on Caverns, Dictionnaire t Principles, 9th ed. p. 740. 


led me, and other geologists, to reconsider the evidence pre 
viously derived from caves "brought forward in proof of 
the high antiquity of man. With a view of re-examining 
this evidence, I have lately explored several caverns in 
Belgium and other countries, and re-read the principal 
memoirs and treatises treating of the fossil remains preserved 
in them, the results of which inquiries I shall now proceed 
to lay before the reader. 

Researches, in 1833-1834, of Dr. Schmerling in the Caverns 
near Liege. 

The late Dr. Schmerling of Liege, a skillful anatomist and 
paleontologist, after devoting several years to the exploring 
of the numerous ossiferous caverns which border the valleys 
of the Meuse and its tributaries, published two volumes, 
descriptive of the contents of more than forty caverns. One 
of these volumes consisted of an atlas of plates, illustrative of 
the fossil bones.* 

Many of the caverns had never before been entered by 
scientific observers, and their floors were encrusted with 
unbroken stalagmite. At a very early stage of his investiga 
tions, Dr. Schmerling found the bones of man so rolled and 
scattered, as to preclude all idea of their having been inten 
tionally buried on the spot. He also remarked that they were 
of the same colour, and in the same condition as to the amount 
of animal matter contained in them, as those of the accom 
panying animals, some of which, like the cave-bear, hysena, 
elephant, and rhinoceros, were extinct ; others, like the wild 
cat, beaver, wild boar, roe-deer, wolf, and hedgehog, still extant. 
The fossils were lighter than fresh bones, except such as had 
their pores filled with carbonate of lime, in which case they 

* Kecherches sur les Ossements fos- a Province de Liege. Liege, 1833 
siles decouverts dans les Cavernes de 1834. 


were often much heavier. The human remains of most 
frequent occurrence were teeth detached from the jaw, and 
the carpal, metacarpal, tarsal, metatarsal, and phalangial 
bones separated from the rest of the skeleton. The cor 
responding bones of the cave-bear, the most abundant of 
the accompanying mammalia, were also found in the Liege 
caverns more commonly than any others, and in the same 
scattered condition. Occasionally, some of the long bones of 
mammalia were observed to have been first broken across, 
and then reunited or cemented again by stalagmite, as they 
lay on the floor of the cave. 

No gnawed bones nor any coprolites were found by 
Schmerling. He therefore inferred that the caverns of the 
province of Liege had not been the dens of wild beasts, 
but that their organic and inorganic contents had been swept 
into them by streams communicating with the surface of the 
country. The bones, he suggested, may often have been 
rolled in the beds of such streams before they reached their 
underground destination. To the same agency the intro 
duction of many land-shells dispersed through the cave-mud 
was ascribed, such as Helix nemoralis, H. lapicida, H. po- 
matia, and others of living species. Mingled with such shells, 
in some rare instances, the bones of fresh-water fish, and of a 
snake (Coluber\ as well as of several birds, were detected. 

The occurrence here and there of bones in a very perfect 
state, or of several bones belonging to the same skeleton in 
natural juxtaposition, and having all their most delicate 
apophyses uninjured, while many accompanying bones in the 
same breccia were rolled, broken, or decayed, was accounted 
for by supposing that portions of carcasses were sometimes 
floated in during floods while still clothed with their flesh. 
No example was discovered of an entire skeleton, not even of 
one of the smaller mammalia, the bones of which are usually 
the least injured. 


The incompleteness of each skeleton was especially ascer 
tained in regard to the human subjects, Dr. Schmerling being 
careful, whenever a fragment of such presented itself, to explore 
the cavern himself, and see whether any other bones of the 
same skeleton could be found. In the Engis cavern, distant 
about eight miles to the south-west of Liege, on the left bank of 
the Meuse, the remains of at least three human individuals were 
disinterred. The skull of one of these, that of a young 
person, was embedded by the side of a mammoth's tooth. It 
was entire, but so fragile, that nearly all of it fell to pieces 
during its extraction. Another skull, that of an adult in 
dividual (see fig. 2, p. 81), and the only one preserved by Dr. 
Schmerling in a sufficient state of integrity to enable the 
anatomist to speculate on the race to which it belonged, was 
buried five feet deep in a breccia, in which the tooth of a 
rhinoceros, several bones of a horse, and some of the rein 
deer, together with some ruminants, occurred. This skull, 
now in the museum of the University of Liege, is figured in 
Chap. V., where further observations will be offered on its 
anatomical character, after a fuller account of the contents 
of the Liege caverns has been laid before the reader. 

On the right bank of the Meuse, on the opposite side of 
the river to Engis, it the cavern of Engihoul. Both were 
observed to abound greatly in the bones of extinct animals 
mingled with those of man ; but with this difference, that 
whereas in the Engis cave there were several human crania 
and very few other bones, in Engihoul there occurred nu 
merous bones of the extremities belonging to at least three 
human individuals, and only two small fragments of a 
cranium. The like capricious distribution held good in 
other caverns, especially with reference to the cave-bear, the 
most frequent of the extinct mammalia. Thus, for example in 
the cave of Chokier, skulls of the bear were few, and other 
parts of the skeleton abundant, whereas in several other 



caverns these proportions were exactly reversed, while at 
Groffontaine skulls of the bear and other parts of the skeleton 
were found in their natural numerical proportions. Speaking 
generally, it may be said that human bones, where any were 
met with, occurred at all depths in the cave-mud and gravel, 
sometimes above and sometimes below those of the bear, 
elephant, rhinoceros, hysena, &c. 

Some rude flint implements of the kind commonly called 
flint knives or flakes, of a triangular form in the cross section 
(as in fig. 14, p. 118), were found by Schmerling dispersed 
generally through the cave-mud, but he was too much en 
grossed with his osteological inquiries to collect them dili 
gently. He preserved some few of them, however, which I 
have seen in the museum at Liege. He also discovered in the 
cave of Chokier, two and a half miles south-west from Liege, a 
polished and jointed needle-shaped bone, with a hole pierced 
obliquely through it at the base ; such a cavity, he observed, 
as had never given passage to an artery. This instrument 
was embedded in the same matrix with the remains of a 

Another cut bone and several artificially shaped flints were 
found in the Engis cave, near the human skulls before alluded 
to. Schmerling observed, and we shall have to refer to the 
fact in the sequel (Chap. VIII.), that although in some forty 
fossiliferous caves explored by him human bones were the 
exception, yet these flint implements were universal, and he 
added that ' none of them could have been subsequently in 
troduced, being precisely in the same position as the remains 
of the accompanying animals.' ( I therefore,' he continues, 
( attach great importance to their presence ; for even if I had 
not found the human bones under conditions entirely favour 
able to their being considered as belonging to the ante- 

* Schmerling, part ii. p. 177. 


diluvian epoch, proofs of man's existence would still have 
been supplied by the cut bones and worked flints.' * 

Dr. Schmerling, therefore, had no hesitation in concluding 
from the various facts ascertained by him, that man once 
lived in the Liege district contemporaneously with the cave- 
bear, and several other extinct species of quadrupeds. But 
he was much at a loss when he attempted to invent a 
theory to explain the former state of the fauna of the region 
now drained by the Meuse ; for he shared the notion, then 
very prevalent among naturalists, that the mammoth and the 
hysenaf were beasts of a warmer climate than that now 
proper to Western Europe. In order to account for the 
presence of such ' tropical species,' he was half-inclined to 
imagine that they had been transported by a flood from some 
distant region ; then again he raised the question whether 
they might not have been washed out of an older alluvium, 
which may have pre-existed in the neighbourhood. This last 
hypothesis was directly at variance with his own statements, 
that the remains of the mammoth and hysena were identical 
in appearance, colour, and chemical condition with those of 
the bear and other associated fossil animals, none of which 
exhibited signs of having been previously enveloped in any 
dissimilar matrix. Another enigma which led Schmerling 
astray in some of his geological speculations was the supposed 
presence of the agouti, a South-American rodent, 'proper 
to the torrid zone.' My friend M. Lartet, guided by Schmer- 
ling's figures of the teeth of this species, suggests, and I have 
little doubt with good reason, that they appertain to the 
porcupine, a genus found fossil in post-pliocene deposits of 
certain caverns in the south of France. 

In the year 1833, I passed through Liege, on my way to 
the Ehine, and conversed with Dr. Schmerling, who showed 

* Schmerling, partii. p. 179. t Ibid, part ii. pp. 70, 96. 

F 2 


me his splendid collection, and when I expressed some 
incredulity respecting the alleged antiquity of the fossil 
human bones, he pointedly remarked, that if I doubted their 
having been contemporaneous with the bear or rhinoceros, 
on the ground of man being a species of more modern date, 
I ought equally to doubt the coexistence of all the other 
living species, such as the red deer, roe, wild cat, wild boar, 
wolf, fox, weasel, beaver, hare, rabbit, hedgehog, mole, dor 
mouse, field-mouse, water-rat, shrew, and others, the bones 
of which he had found scattered everywhere indiscriminately 
through the same mud with the extinct quadrupeds. The 
year after this conversation I cited Schmerling's opinions, 
and the facts bearing on the antiquity of man, in the 3rd 
edition of my Principles of Geology (p. 161, 1834), and in 
succeeding editions, without pretending to call in question 
their trustworthiness, but at the same time without giving 
them the weight which I now consider they were entitled 
to. He had accumulated ample evidence to prove that man 
had been introduced into the earth at an earlier period than 
geologists were then willing to believe. 

One positive fact, it will be said, attested by so competent a 
witness, ought to have outweighed any amount of negative 
testimony, previously accumulated, respecting the non-occur 
rence elsewhere of human remains in formations of the like 
antiquity. In reply, I can only plead that a discovery which 
seems to contradict the general tenor of previous investiga 
tions is naturally received with much hesitation. To have un 
dertaken in 1832, with a view of testing its truth, to follow the 
Belgian philosopher through every stage of his observations 
and proofs, would have been no easy task even for one well- 
skilled in geology and osteology. To be let down, as Schmer- 
ling was, day after day, by a rope tied to a tree, so as to slide 
to the foot of the first opening of the Engis cave,* where the 

* Sclimerling, part i. p. 30. 


best-preserved human skulls were found; and, after thus 
gaining access to the first subterranean gallery, to creep on all 
fours through a contracted passage leading to larger chambers, 
there to superintend by torchlight, week after week and 
year after year, the workmen who were breaking through 
the stalagmitic crust as hard as marble, in order to remove 
piece by piece the underlying bone-breccia nearly as hard ; 
to stand for hours with one's feet in the mud, and with 
water dripping from the roof on one's head, in order to mark 
the position and guard against the loss of each single bone 
of a skeleton ; and at length, after finding leisure, strength, 
and courage for all these operations, to look forward, as the 
fruits of one's labour, to the publication of unwelcome in 
telligence, opposed to the prepossessions of the scientific 
as well as. of the unscientific public; when these circum 
stances are taken into account, we need scarcely wonder, not 
only that a passing traveller failed to stop and scrutinise the 
evidence, but that a quarter of a century should have elapsed 
before even the neighbouring professors of the University 
of Liege came forth to vindicate the truthfulness of their 
indefatigable and clear-sighted countryman. 

In 1860, when I revisited Liege, twenty-six years after my 
interview with Schmerling, I found that several of the 
caverns described by him had in the interval been annihilated. 
Not a vestige, for example, of the caves of Engis, Chokier, 
and Groffontaine remained. The calcareous stone, in the 
heart of which the cavities once existed, had been quarried 
away, and removed bodily for building and lime-making. 
Fortunately, a great part of the Engihoul cavern, situated on 
the right bank of the Meuse, was still in the same state as 
when Schmerling delved into it in 1831, and drew from it 
the bones of three human skeletons. I determined, there 
fore, to examine it, and was so fortunate as to obtain the as 
sistance of a zealous naturalist of Liege, Professor Malaise, 


who accompanied me to the cavern, where we engaged some 
workmen to break through the crust of stalagmite, so that 
we could search for bones in the undisturbed earth beneath. 
Bones and teeth of the cave-bear were soon found, and 
several other extinct quadrupeds which Schmerling has enu 
merated. My companion, continuing the work perseveringly 
for weeks after my departure, succeeded at length in ex 
tracting from the same deposit, at the depth of two feet 
below the crust of stalagmite, three fragments of a human 
skull, and two perfect lower jaws with teeth, all associated in 
such a manner with the bones of bears, large pachyderms, 
and ruminants, and so precisely resembling these in colour 
and state of preservation, as to leave no doubt in his mind 
that man was contemporary with the extinct animals. Pro 
fessor Malaise has given figures of the human remains in the 
bulletin of the royal academy of Belgium for I860.* 

The rock in which the Liege caverns occur belongs gene 
rally to the carboniferous or mountain limestone, in some 
few cases only to the older Devonian formation. Whenever 
the work of destruction has not gone too far, magnificent 
sections, sometimes 200 and 300 feet in height, are exposed 
to view. They confirm Schmerling's doctrine, that most of 
the materials, organic and inorganic, now filling the caverns, 
have been washed into them through narrow vertical or 
oblique fissures, the upper extremities of which are choked 
up with soil and gravel, and would scarcely ever be discover 
able at the surface, especially in so wooded a country. Among 
the sections obtained by quarrying, one of the finest which I 
saw was in the beautiful valley of Fond du Foret, above 
Chaudefontaine, not far from the village of Magnee, where 
one of the rents communicating with the surface has been 
filled up to the brim with rounded and half-rounded stones, 

* Tom. x. p. 546. 


angular pieces of limestone and shale, besides sand and mud, 
together with bones, chiefly of the cave-bear. Connected with 
this main duct, which is from one to two feet in width, are 
several minor ones, each from one to three inches wide, also 
extending to the upper country or table-land, and choked up 
with similar materials. They are inclined at angles of 30 
and 40, their walls being generally coated with stalactite, 
pieces of which have here and there been broken off and 
mingled with the contents of the rents, thus helping to 
explain why we so often meet with detached pieces of that 
substance in the mud and breccia of the Belgian caves. It is 
not easy to conceive that a solid horizontal floor of hard 
stalagmite should, after its formation, be broken up by run 
ning water ; but when the walls of steep and tortuous rents, 
serving as feeders to the principal fissures and to inferior 
vaults and galleries are encrusted with stalagmite, some of 
the incrustation may readily be torn up when heavy fragments 
of rock are hurried by a flood through passages inclined at 
angles of 30 or 40. 

The decay and decomposition of the fossil bones seem to 
have been arrested in most of the caves by a constant sup 
ply of water charged with carbonate of lime, which dripped 
from the roofs while the caves were becoming gradually filled 
up. By similar agency the mud, sand, and pebbles were 
usually consolidated. 

The following explanation of this phenomenon has been 
suggested by the eminent chemist Liebig. On the surface of 
Franconia, where the limestone abounds in caverns, is a 
fertile soil in which vegetable matter is continually decaying. 
This mould or humus, being acted on by moisture and air, 
evolves carbonic acid, which is dissolved by rain. The rain 
water, thus impregnated, permeates the porous limestone, 
dissolves a portion of it, and afterwards, when the excess of 
carbonic acid evaporates in the caverns, parts with the 


calcareous matter and forms stalactite. So long as water 
flows, even occasionally, through a suite of caverns, no layer 
of pure stalagmite can be produced ; hence the formation of 
such a layer, is generally an event posterior in date to the 
cessation of the old system of drainage, an event which might 
be brought about by an earthquake causing new fissures, or 
by the river wearing its way down to a lower level, and 
thenceforth running in a new channel. 

In all the subterranean cavities, more than forty in num 
ber, explored by Schmerling, he only observed one cave, 
namely that of Chokier, where there were two regular layers 
of stalagmite, divided by fossiliferous cave-mud. In this 
instance, we may suppose that the stream, after flowing for 
a long period at one level, cut its way down to an inferior 
suite of caverns, and, flowing through them for centuries, 
choked them up with debris ; after which it rose once more 
to its original higher level : just as in the mountain limestone 
district of Yorkshire some rivers, habitually absorbed by a 
( swallow hole,' are occasionally unable to discharge all their 
water through it^; in which case they rise and rush through 
a higher subterranean passage, which was at some former 
period in the regular line of drainage, as is often attested 
by the fluviatile gravel still contained in it. 

There are now in the basin of the Meuse, not far from Liege, 
several examples of engulfed brooks and rivers : some of 
them, like that of St. Hadelin, east of Chaudefontaine, which 
reappears after an underground course of a mile or two ; 
others, like the Vesdre, which is lost near G-offontaine, and 
after a time re-emerges ; some, again, like the torrent near 
Magnee, which, after entering a cave, never again comes to 
the day. In the season of floods such streams are turbid at 
their entrance, but clear as a mountain-spring where they 
issue again ; so that they must be slowly filling up cavities 
in the interior with mud, sand, pebbles, snail-shells, and 


the bones of animals which may be carried away during 

The manner in which some of the large thigh and shank 
bones of the rhinoceros and other pachyderms are rounded, 
while some of the smaller bones of the same creatures, and 
of the hysena, bear, and horse, are reduced to pebbles, shows 
that they were often transported for some distance in the 
channels of torrents, before they found a resting-place. 

When we desire to reason or speculate on the probable 
antiquity of human bones found fossil in such situations as 
the caverns near Liege, there are two classes of evidence to 
which we may appeal for our guidance. First, considerations 
of the time required to allow of many species of carnivorous 
and herbivorous animals, which flourished in the cave period, 
becoming first scarce, and then so entirely extinct as we 
have seen that they had become before the era of the Danish 
peat and Swiss lake dwellings : secondly, the great number 
of centuries necessary for the conversion of the physical 
geography of the Liege district from its ancient to its present 
configuration ; so many old underground channels, through 
which brooks and rivers flowed in the cave period, being now 
laid dry and choked up. 

The great alterations which have taken place in the shape 
of the valley of the Meuse and some of its tributaries 
are often demonstrated by the abrupt manner in which the 
mouths of fossiliferous caverns open in the face of perpen 
dicular precipices 200 feet or more in height above the 
present streams. There appears also, in many cases, to be 
such a correspondence in the openings of caverns on opposite 
sides of some of the valleys, both large and small, as to 
incline one to suspect that they originally belonged to a 
series of tunnels and galleries which were continuous before 
the present system of drainage came into play, or before the 
existing valleys were scooped out. Other signs of subsequent 


fluctuations are afforded by gravel containing elephant's 
bones at slight elevations above the Meuse and several of its 
tributaries. The loess also, in the suburbs and neighbour 
hood of Liege, occurring at various heights in patches lying 
at between 20 and 200 feet above the river, cannot be 
explained without supposing the filling up and re-excavation 
of the valleys at a period posterior to the washing in of the 
animal remains into most of the old caverns. It may be 
objected that, according to the present rate of change, no 
lapse of ages would suffice to bring about such revolutions 
in physical geography as we are here contemplating. This 
may be true. It is more than probable that the rate of 
change was once far more active than it is now. Some of 
the nearest volcanoes, namely, those of the Lower Eifel 
about sixty miles to the eastward, seem to have been in 
eruption in post-pliocene times, and may perhaps have been 
connected and coeval with repeated risings or sinkings of the 
land in the basin of the Meuse. It might be said, with 
equal truth, that according to the present course of events, 
no series of ages would suffice to reproduce such an assem-. 
blage of cones and craters as those of the Eifel (near An- 
dernach for example); and yet ^ome of them may be of 
sufficiently modern date to belong to the era when man was 
contemporary with the mammoth and rhinoceros in the 
basin of the Meuse. 

But, although we may be unable to estimate the minimum 
of time required for the changes in physical geography above 
alluded to, we cannot fail to perceive that the duration of 
the period must have been very protracted, and that other ages 
of comparative inaction may have followed, separating the 
post-pliocene from the historical periods, and constituting 
an interval no less indefinite in its duration. 








Fossil human Skeleton of the Neanderthal Cave near 

TJEFORE I speak more particularly of the opinions which 
JLJ anatomists have expressed respecting the osteological 
characters of the human skull from Engis, near Liege, 
mentioned in the last chapter and described by Dr. Schmer- 
ling, it will be desirable to say something of the geological 
position of another skull, or rather skeleton, which, on 
account of its peculiar conformation, has excited no small 
sensation in the last few years. I allude to the skull found 
in 1857, in a cave situated in that part of the valley of the 
Diissel, near Dusseldorf, which is called the Neanderthal. 
The spot is a deep and narrow ravine about seventy English 
miles north-east of the region of the Liege caverns treated 
of in the last chapter, and close to the village and railway 
station of Hochdal between Dusseldorf and Elberfeld. The 
cave occurs in the precipitous southern or left side of the 
winding ravine, about sixty feet above the stream, and a 


hundred feet below the top of the cliff. The accompanying 
section will give the reader an idea of its position. 

Fig. 1 

Section of the Neanderthal Cave near Diisseldorf. 

a Cavern 60 feet above the Diissel, and 100 feet below the surface 

of the country at c. 
b Loam covering the floor of the cave near the bottom of which the 

human skeleton was found. 

b, c Kent connecting the cave with the upper surface of the country. 
d Superficial sandy loam. 
e Devonian limestone. 
/ Terrace, or ledge of rock. 

When Dr. Fuhlrott of Elberfeld first examined the cave, 
he found it to be high enough to allow a man to enter. 
The width was seven or eight feet, and the length or depth 
fifteen. I visited the spot in 1860, in company with Dr. 
Fuhlrott, who had the kindness to come expressly from 
Elberfeld to be my guide, and who brought with him the 
original fossil skull, and a cast of the same, which he pre 
sented to me. In the interval of three years, between 1857 
and 1860, the ledge of rock, /, on which the cave opened, 
and which was originally twenty feet wide, had been almost 
entirely quarried away, and, at the rate at which the work 
of dilapidation was proceeding, its complete destruction 
seemed near at hand. 

In the limestone are many fissures, one of which, still 
partially filled with mud and stones, is represented in the 
section at a c as continuous from the cave to the upper 


surface of the country. Through this passage the loam, 
and possibly the human body to which the bones belonged, 
may have been washed into the cave below. The loam, 
which covered the uneven bottom of the cave, was sparingly 
mixed with rounded fragments of chert, and was very similar 
in composition to that covering the general surface of that 

There was no crust of stalagmite overlying the mud in 
which the human skeleton was found, and no bones of other 
animals in the mud with the skeleton ; but just before our 
visit in 1860 the tusk of a bear had been met with in some 
mud in a lateral embranchment of the cave, in a situation 
precisely similar to 6, fig. 1, and on a level corresponding 
with that of the human skeleton. This tusk, shown us by 
the proprietor of the cave, was two and a half inches long and 
quite perfect ; but whether it was referable to a recent or 
extinct species of bear, I could not determine. 

From a printed letter of Dr. Fuhlrott we learn that on 
removing the loam, which was five feet thick, from the cave, 
the human skull was first noticed near the entrance, and, 
further in, the other bones lying in the same horizontal 
plane. It is supposed that the skeleton was complete, but 
the workmen, ignorant of its value, scattered and lost most 
of the bones, preserving only the larger ones.* 

The cranium, which Dr. Fuhlrott showed me, was covered 
both on its outer and inner surface, and especially on the 
latter, with a profusion of dendritical crystallisations, and 
some other bones of the skeleton were ornamented in the 
same way. These markings, as Dr. Hermann von Meyer 
observes, afford no sure criterion of antiquity, for they have 
been observed on Eoman bones. Nevertheless, they are 
more common in bones that have been long embedded in 

* Letter to Professor Schaaffhausen, cited Natural History Keview, No. 2, 
p. 156. 


the earth. The skull and bones, moreover, of the Neander 
thal skeleton had lost so much of their animal matter as 
to adhere strongly to the tongue, agreeing in this respect 
with the ordinary condition of fossil remains of the post- 
pliocene period. On the whole, I think it probable that this 
fossil may be of about the same age as those found by 
Schmerling in the Liege caverns ; but, as no other animal 
remains were found with it, there is no proof that it may not 
be newer. Its position lends no countenance whatever to the 
supposition of its being more ancient. 

When the skull and other parts of the skeleton were 
first exhibited at a German scientific meeting at Bonn, in 
1857, some doubts were expressed by several naturalists, 
whether it was truly human. Professor Schaaffhausen, 
who, with the other experienced zoologists, did not share 
these doubts, observed that the cranium, which included 
the frontal bone, both parietals, part of the squamous, and 
the upper third of the occipital, was of unusual size and 
thickness, the forehead narrow and very low, and the pro 
jection of the supra-orbital ridges enormously great. He 
also stated that the absolute and relative length of the thigh 
bone, humerus, radius, and ulna, agreed well with the di 
mensions of a European individual of like stature at the 
present day ; but that the thickness of the bones was very 
extraordinary, and the elevation and depression for the at 
tachment of muscles were developed in an unusual degree. 
Some of the ribs, also, were of a singularly rounded shape 
and abrupt curvature, which was supposed to indicate great 
power in the thoracic muscles.* 

In the same memoir, the Prussian anatomist remarks that 
the depression of the forehead, see fig. 3, p. 82, is not due 
to any artificial flattening, such as is practised in various 

* Professor Schaaffhausen' s Memoir, translated, Natural History Eeview, 
No. 2, April 1861. 


modes by barbarous nations in the Old and New World, 
the skull being quite symmetrical, and showing no indication 
of counter-pressure at the occiput; whereas, according to 
Morton, in the Flat-heads of the Columbift, the frontal and 
parietal bones are always unsymmetrical.* On the whole, 
Professor SchaafThausen concluded that the individual to 
whom the Neanderthal skull belonged must have been dis 
tinguished by small cerebral development, and uncommon 
strength of corporeal frame. 

When on my return to England I showed the cast of the 
cranium to Professor Huxley, he remarked at once that it 
was the most ape-like skull he had ever beheld. Mr. Busk, 
after giving a translation of Professor Schaaff hausen's me 
moir in the Natural History Review, f added some valuable 
comments of his own on the characters in which this skull 
approached that of the gorilla and chimpanzee. 

Professor Huxley afterwards studied the cast with the 
object of assisting me to give illustrations of it in this work, 
and in doing so discovered what had not previously been 
observed, that it was quite as abnormal in the shape of its 
occipital as in that of its frontal or superciliary region. 
Before citing his words on the subject, I will offer a few 
remarks on the Engis skull which the same anatomist has 
compared with that of the Neanderthal. 

Fossil Skull of the Engis Cave near Liege. 

Among six or seven human skeletons, portions of which 
were collected by Dr. Schmerling from three or four caverns 
near Liege, embedded in the same matrix with the remains of 
the elephant, rhinoceros, bear, hyaena, and other extinct qua 
drupeds, the most perfect skull, as I have before stated, p. 65, 
was that of an adult individual found in the cavern of Engis. 

* Natural History Eeview, No. 2, p. 160. t No. 2, 1861. 


This skull, Dr. Schmerling figured in his work, observing 
that it was too imperfect to enable the anatomist to deter 
mine the facial angle, but that one might infer, from the 
narrowness of tbe frontal portion, that it belonged to an in 
dividual of small intellectual development. He speculated 
on its Ethiopian affinities, but not confidently, observing 
truly that it would require many more specimens to enable 
an anatomist to arrive at sound conclusions on such a point. 
M. Greoffroy St. Hilaire and other osteologists, who examined 
the specimen, denied that it resembled a negro's skull. When 
I saw the original in the museum at Liege, I invited Dr. 
Spring, one of the professors of the university, to whom we 
are indebted for a valuable memoir on the human bones 
found in the cavern of Chauvaux near Namur, to have a 
cast made of this Engis skull. He not only had the kind 
ness to comply with my request, but rendered a service to 
the scientific world by adding to the original cranium 
several detached fragments which Dr. Schmerling had ob 
tained from Engis, and which were found to fit in exactly, 
so that the cast represented at fig. 2 is more complete than 
that given in the first plate of Schmerling's work. It exhibits 
on the right side the position of the auditory foramen (see 
fig. 6, p. 88), which was not included in Schmerling's figure. 
Mr. Busk, when he saw this cast, remarked to me that, 
although forehead was, as Schmerling had truly stated, some 
what narrow, it might nevertheless be matched by the skulls 
of individuals of European race, an observation since fully 
borne out by measurements, as will be seen in the sequel. 


' The Engis skull, as originally figured by Professor Schmerling, 
was in a very imperfect state ; but other fragments have since been 
added to it by the care of Dr. Spring, and the cast upon which my 




observations are based (fig. 2) exhibits the frontal, parietal, and 
occipital regions, as far as the middle of the occipital foramen, with 
the squamous and mastoid portions of the right temporal bone 
entire, or nearly so, while the left temporal bone is wanting. From 
the middle of the occipital foramen to the middle of the roof of each 
orbit, the base of the skull is destroyed, and the facial bones are 
entirely absent. 

Fig. 2 

Side view of the cast of part of a human skull found by Dr. Schmerling 
embedded amongst the remains of extinct mammalia in the cave of Engis, near 

a Superciliary ridge and glabella. 
b Coronal suture. 

c The apex of the lambdoidal suture. 
d The occipital protuberance. 

' The extreme length of the skull is 7'7 inches, and as its extreme 
breadth is not more than 5' 25, its form is decidedly dolichocephalic. 
At the same time its height (4| inches from the plane of the 
glabello-occipital line (a d) to the vertex) is good, and the forehead 
is well arched ; so that while the horizontal circumference of the 
skull is about 20^- inches, the longitudinal arc from the nasal spine of 





the frontal bone to the occipital protuberance (d~] measures about 13| 
inches. The transverse arc from one auditory foramen to the other 
across the middle of the sagittal suture measures about 13 inches. 
The sagittal suture (b c) is 5-J inches in length. The superciliary 
prominences are well, but not excessively, developed, and are sepa 
rated by a median depression in the region of the glabella. They 
indicate large frontal sinuses. If a line joining the glabella and 
the occipital protuberance (a d) be made horizontal, no part of the 
occiput projects more than y^th of an inch behind the posterior ex 
tremity of that line ; and the upper edge of the auditory foramen 
is almost in contact with the same line, or rather with one drawn 
parallel to it on the outer surface of the skull. 

Fig. 3 

Side view of the cast of a part of a human skull from a cave in the Neanderthal 
near Diisseldorf. 

a The superciliary ridge and glabella. 
b The coronal suture. 

c The apex of the lambdoidal suture. 
d The occipital protuberance. 

' The Neanderthal skull, with which also I am acquainted only by 
means of Professor Schaaffhausen's drawings of an excellent cast and 
of photographs, is so extremely different in appearance from the Engis 
cranium, that it might well be supposed to belong to a distinct race 
of mankind. It is 8 inches in extreme length and 5*75 inches in 




extreme breadth, but only measures 3 '4 inches from the glabello- 
occipital line to the vertex. The longitudinal arc, measured as 
above, is 12 inches; the transverse arc cannot be exactly ascer 
tained, in consequence of the absence of the temporal bones, but 
was probably about the same, and certainly exceeded 10| inches. 
The horizontal circumference is 23 inches. This great circum 
ference arises largely from the vast development of the super 
ciliary ridges, which are occupied by great frontal sinuses whose 
inferior apertures are displayed exceedingly well in one of Dr. 

Fig. 4 

Outline of the skull of an adult Chimpanzee, of that from the Neanderthal, 
and of that of a European, drawn to the same absolute size, in order better to 
exhibit their relative differences. The superciliary region of the Neanderthal 
skull appears less prominent than in fig. 3, as the contours are all taken along 
the middle line where the superciliary projection of the Neanderthal skull is 
least marked, 

a The glabella. 

b The occipital protuberance, or the point on the exterior of each skull 
which corresponds roughly with the attachment of the tentorium, 
or with the inferior boundary of the posterior cerebral lobes. 

Fuhlrott's photographs, and form a continuous transverse prominence, 
somewhat excavated in the middle line, across the lower part of the 
brows. In consequence of this structure, the forehead appears still 
lower and more retreating than it really is. To an anatomical eye 
the posterior part of the skull is even more striking than the an 
terior. The occipital protuberance occupies the extreme posterior 
end of the skull when the glabello-occipital line is made horizontal, 

G 2 


and so far from any part of the occipital region extending beyond 
it, this region of the skull slopes obliquely upward and forward, so 
that the lambdoidal suture is situated well upon the upper surface 
of the cranium. At the same time, notwithstanding the great length 
of the skull, the sagittal suture is remarkably short (41 inches), and 
the squamosal suture is very straight. 

* In human skulls, the superior curved ridge of the occipital bone 
and the occipital protuberance correspond, approximative^, with 
the level of the tentorium and with the lateral sinuses, and con 
sequently with the inferior limit of the posterior lobes of the brain. 
At first, I found some difficulty in believing that a human brain 
could have its posterior lobes so flattened and diminished as must 
have been the case in the Neanderthal man, supposing the ordi 
nary relation to obtain between the superior occipital ridges and the 
tentorium; but on my application, through Sir Charles Lyell, 
Dr. Fuhlrott, the possessor of the skull, was good enough not only to 
ascertain the existence of the lateral sinuses in their ordinary posi 
tion, but to send convincing proofs of the fact, in excellent photo 
graphic views of the interior of the skull, exhibiting clear indications 
of these sinuses. 

' There can be no doubt that, as Professor Schaaffhausen and 
Mr. Busk have stated, this skull is the most brutal of all known 
human skulls, resembling those of the apes not only in the prodigious 
development of the superciliary prominences and the forward ex 
tension of the orbits, but still more in the depressed form of the 
brain-case, in the straightness of the squamosal suture, and in 
the complete retreat of the occiput forward and upward, from the 
superior occipital ridges. 

' But the cranium, in its present condition, is stated by Professor 
Schaaffhausen to contain 1033'24 cubic centimeters of water, or, in 
other words, about 63 English cubic inches. As the entire skull could 
hardly have held less than 12 cubic inches more, its minimum 
capacity may be estimated at 75 cubic inches. The most capacious 
healthy European skull yet measured had a capacity of 114 cubic 
inches, the smallest (as estimated by weight of brain) about 55 
cubic inches, while, according to Professor Schaaffhausen, some 
Hindoo skulls have as small a capacity as about 46 cubic inches 
(27 oz. of water). The largest cranium of any Gorilla yet measured 
contained 34' 5 cubic inches. The Neanderthal cranium stands, 
therefore, in capacity, very nearly on a level with the mean of the 
two human extremes, and very far above the pithecoid maximum. 

( Hence, even in the absence of the bones of the arm and thigh, 


which, according to Professor Schaaffhausen, had the precise propor 
tions found in man, although they were much stouter than ordinary- 
human bones, there could be no reason for ascribing this cranium 
to anything but a man ; while the strength and development of the 
muscular ridges of the limb-bones are characters in perfect accord 
ance with those exhibited, in a minor degree, by the bones of such 
hardy savages, exposed to a rigorous climate, as the Patagonians. 

1 The Neanderthal cranium has certainly not undergone compression, 
and, in reply to the suggestion that the skull is that of an idiot, it 
may be urged that the onus probandi lies with those who adopt the 
hypothesis. Idiotcy is compatible with very various forms and ca 
pacities of the cranium, but I know of none which present the least 
resemblance to the Neanderthal skull ; and, furthermore, I shall pro 
ceed to show that the latter manifests but an extreme degree of a 
stage of degradation exhibited, as a natural condition, by the crania 
of certain races of mankind. 

* Mr. Busk drew my attention, some time ago, to the resemblance 
between some of the skulls taken from tumuli of the stone period at 
Borreby in Denmark, of which Mr. Busk possesses numerous accurate 
figures, and the Neanderthal cranium. One of the Borreby skulls 
in particular (fig. 5, p. 86) has remarkably projecting superciliary 
ridges, a retreating forehead, a low flattened vertex, and an occiput 
which shelves upward and forward. But the skull is relatively higher 
and broader, or more brachycephalic, the sagittal suture longer, 
and the superciliary ridges less projecting, than in the Neanderthal 
skull. Nevertheless, there is, without doubt, much resemblance in 
character between the two skulls, a circumstance which is the 
more interesting, since the other Borreby skulls have better fore 
heads and less prominent superciliary ridges, and exhibit altogether 
a higher conformation. 

; The Borreby skulls belong to the stone period of Denmark, and 
the people to whom they appertained were probably either contem 
poraneous with, or later than, the makers of the " refuse-heaps " of 
that country. In other words, they were subsequent to the last great 
physical changes of Europe, and were contemporaries of the urus 
and bison, not of the Elephas primigenius, Rhinoceros tichorhinus, and 
Hyaena spelcea. 

' Supposing for a moment, what is not proven, that the Neanderthal 
skull belonged to a race allied to the Borreby people and was as 
modern as they, it would be separated by as great a distance of time 
as of anatomical character from the Engis skull, and the possibility of 
its belonging to a distinct race from the latter might reasonably 
appear to be greatly heightened. 




' To prevent the possibility of reasoning in a vicious circle, how 
ever, I thought it would be well to endeavour to ascertain what 
amount of cranial variation is to be found in a pure race at the present 

Fig. 5 

Skull associated with ground flint implements, from a tumulus at Borreby in 
Denmark, after a camera lucida drawing by Mr. Gr. Busk, F.K.S. The thick 
dark line indicates so much of the skull as corresponds with the fragment from 
the Neanderthal. 

a Superciliary ridge, c The apex of the lambdoidal suture. 

b Coronal suture. d The occipital protuberance. 

e The auditory foramen. 



day ; and as the natives of Southern and Western Australia are 
probably as pure and homogeneous in blood, customs, and language, 
as any race of savages in existence, I turned to them, the more 
readily as the Hunterian museum contains a very fine collection of 
such skulls. 

' I soon found it possible to select from among these crania two (con 
nected by all sorts of intermediate gradations), the one of which should 
very nearly resemble the Engis skull, while the other should some 
what less closely approximate the Neanderthal cranium in form, size, 
and proportions. And at the same time others of these skulls pre 
sented no less remarkable affinities with the low type of Borreby 

' That the resemblances to which I allude are by no means of a 
merely superficial character, is shown by the accompanying diagram 
(fig. 6, p. 88), which gives the contours of the two ancient and of 
one of the Australian skulls, and by the following table of measure 













5 ? 

Australian, No. 1 







Australian, No. 2 














A The horizontal circumference in the plane of a line joining the glabella, 
with the occipital protuberance. 

B The longitudinal arc from the nasal depression along the middle line of 
the skull to the occipital tuberosity. 

c From the level of the glabello-occipital line on each side, across the 
middle of the sagittal suture to the same point on the opposite side. 

D The vertical height from the glabello-occipital line. 

E The extreme longitudinal measurement. 

F The extreme transverse measurement.* 

' The question whether the Engis skull has rather the character of 
one of the high races or of one of the lower has been much disputed, 
but the following measurements of an English skull, noted in the cata 
logue of the Hunterian museum as typically Caucasian (see fig. 4) 
will serve to show that both sides may be right, and that cranial 
measurements alone afford no safe indication of race. 

* I have taken the glabello-occipital 
line as a base in these measurements, 
simply because it enables me to com 
pare all the skulls, whether fragments 
or entire, together. The greatest cir 

cumference of the English skull lies 
in a plane considerably above that of 
the glabello-occipital line, and amounts 
to twenty-two inches. 



CHAP. v. 

English . 







* In making the preceding statement, it must be clearly understood 
that I neither desire to affirm that the Engis and Neanderthal skulls 
belong to the Australian race, nor to assert even that the ancient 

Fig. 6 

Outlines of the skull from the Neanderthal, of an Australian skull from Port 
Adelaide, and of the skull from the Cave of Engis, drawn to the same absolute 
length, in order the better to contrast their proportions. 

a b As in figure 4, p. 80. 
e The position of the auditory foramen of the Engis skull. 

skulls belong to one and the same race, so far as race is measured by 
language, colour of skin, or character of hair. Against the con 
clusion that they are of the same race as the Australians various 
minor anatomical differences of the ancient skulls, such as the great 
development of the frontal sinuses, might be urged ; while against 
the supposition of either the identity, or the diversity, of race of the 
two arises the known independence of the variation of cranium on 
the one hand, and of hair, colour, and language on the other. 

' But the amount of variation of the Borreby skulls, and the fact 
that the skulls of one of the purest and most homogeneous of existing 
races of men can be proved to differ from one another in the same 
characters, though perhaps not quite to the same extent, as the Engis 


and Neanderthal skulls, seem to me to prohibit any cautious reasoner 
from affirming the latter to have been necessarily of distinct races. 

' The marked resemblances between the ancient skulls and their 
modern Australian analogues, however, have a profound interest, 
when it is recollected that the stone axe is as much the weapon and 
the implement of the modern as of the ancient savage; that the 
former turns the bones of the kangaroo and of the emu to the same 
account as the latter did the bones of the deer and the urus ; that 
the Australian heaps up the shells of devoured shellfish in mounds 
which represent the " refuse-heaps" or " Kjokkenmb'ddings," of Den 
mark ; and, finally, that, on the other side of Torres Straits, a race 
akin to the Australians are among the few people who now build 
their houses on pile-works, like those of the ancient Swiss lakes. 

' That this amount of resemblance in habit and in the conditions of 
existence is accompanied by as close a resemblance in cranial con 
figuration, illustrates on a great scale that what Ciivier demonstrated 
of the animals of the Nile valley is no less true of men ; circum 
stances remaining similar, the savage varies little more, it would 
seem, than the ibis or the crocodile, especially if we take into ac 
count the enormous extent of the time over which our knowledge of 
man now extends, as compared with that measured by the duration 
of the sepulchres of Egypt. 

k Finally, the comparatively large cranial capacity of the Neander 
thal skull, overlaid though it may be by pithecoid bony walls, and 
the completely human proportions of the accompanying limb-bones, 
together with the very fair development of the Engis skull, clearly 
indicate that the first traces of the primordial stock whence man has 
proceeded need no longer be sought, by those who entertain any form 
of the doctrine of progressive development, in the newest tertiaries ; 
but that they may be looked for in an epoch more distant from the 
age of the Elephas primigenius than that is from us.' 

The two skulls which form the subject of the preceding 
comments and illustrations have given rise to nearly an 
equal amount of surprise for opposite reasons ; that of Engis 
because being so unequivocally ancient, it approached so 
near to the highest or Caucasian type ; that of the Neander 
thal, because, having no such decided claims to antiquity, it 
departs so widely from the normal standard of humanity. 


Professor Huxley's observation regarding the wide range of 
variation, both as to shape and capacity, in the skulls of so 
pure a race as the native Australian, removes to no small 
extent this supposed anomaly, assuming what though not 
proved is very probable, that both varieties coexisted in the 
post-pliocene period in Western Europe. 

As to the Engis skull, we must remember that although 
associated with the elephant, rhinoceros, bear, tiger, and 
hyaena, all of extinct species, it nevertheless is also accom 
panied by a bear, stag, wolf, fox, beaver, and many other 
quadrupeds of species still living. Indeed many eminent 
palaeontologists, and among them Professor Pictet, think that, 
numerically considered, the larger portion of the mammalian 
fauna agrees specifically with that of our own period, so that 
we are scarcely entitled to feel surprised if we find human 
races of the post-pliocene epoch undistinguishable from some 
living ones. It would merely tend to show that man has 
been as constant in his osteological characters as many other 
mammalia now his contemporaries. The expectation of 
always meeting with a lower type of human skull, the older 
the formation in which it occurs, is based on the theory of 
progressive development, and it may prove to be sound ; 
nevertheless we must remember that as yet we have no dis 
tinct geological evidence that the appearance of what are 
called the inferior races of mankind has always preceded in 
chronological order that of the higher races. 

It is now admitted that the differences between the brain 
of the highest races of man and that of the lowest, though 
less in degree, are of the same order as those which separate 
the human from the simian brain;* and the same rule 
holds good in regard to the shape of the skull. The average 
Negro skull differs from that of the European in having a 

* Natural History Keview, 1861, p. 8. 


more receding forehead, more prominent superciliary ridges, 
and more largely developed prominences and furrows for 
the attachment of muscles ; the face also, and its lines, are 
larger proportionally. The brain is somewhat less voluminous 
on the average in the lower races of mankind, its convolu 
tions rather less complicated, and those of the two hemi 
spheres more symmetrical, in all which points an approach 
is made to the simian type. It will also be seen, by reference 
to the late Dr. Morton's works, and by the foregoing state 
ments of Professor Huxley, that the range of capacity between 
the highest and lowest human brain is far greater than that 
between the highest simian and lowest human brain; but 
the Neanderthal skull, although in several respects it is more 
ape-like than any human skull previously discovered, is, in 
regard to capacity, by no means contemptible. 

Eminent anatomists have shown that in the average pro 
portions of some of the bones the Negro differs from the 
European, and that in most of these characters, he makes a 
slightly nearer approach to the anthropoid quadrumana;* 
but Professor Schaaffhausen has pointed out that in these 

* ' The inferior races of mankind relatively, a little longer ; the foot is 
exhibit proportions which are in many an eighth, and the hand a twelfth 
respects intermediate between the longer than in the European. It is 
higher, or European, orders, and the well known that the foot is less well 
monkeys. In the Negro, for instance, formed in the Negro than in the 
the stature is less than in the Euro- European. The arch of the instep, 
pean. The cranium, as is well known, the perfect conformation of which is 
bears a small proportion to the face. essential to steadiness and ease of 
Of the extremities the upper are pro- gait, is less elevated in the former 
portionately longer, and there is, in than in the latter. The foot is 
both upper and lower, a less marked thereby rendered flatter as well as 
preponderance of the proximal over the longer, more nearly resembling the 
distal segments. For instance, in the monkey's, between which and the 
Negro, the thigh and arm are rather European, there is a marked differ- 
shorter than in the European ; the leg ence in this particular.' From ' A 
is actually of equal length in both Treatise on the Human Skeleton' by 
races, and is therefore, relatively, a Dr. Humphry, Lecturer on Surgery 
little longer in the Negro ; the fore-arm and Anatomy in the Cambridge Uni- 
in the latter is actually, as well as versity Medical School, p. 91 


proportions the Neanderthal skeleton does not differ from 
the ordinary standard, so that the skeleton by no means 
indicates a transition between Homo and Pithecus. 

There is doubtless, as shown in the diagram fig. 4, a 
nearer resemblance in the outline of the Neanderthal skull 
to that of a chimpanzee than had ever been observed before 
in any human cranium ; and Professor Huxley's description 
of the occipital region shows that the resemblance is not 
confined to the mere excessive prominence of the superciliary 

The direct bearing of the ape-like character of the Nean 
derthal skull on Lamarck's doctrine of progressive develop 
ment and transmutation, or on that modification of it which 
has of late been so ably advocated by Mr. Darwin, consists 
in this, that the newly observed deviation from a normal 
standard of human structure is not in a casual or random 
direction, but just what might have been anticipated if the 
laws of variation were such as the transmutationists require. 
For if we conceive the cranium to be very ancient, it exem 
plifies a less advanced stage of progressive development 
and improvement. If it be a comparatively modern race, 
owing its peculiarities of conformation to degeneracy, it is 
an illustration of what the botanists have called ' atavism,' 
or the tendency of varieties to revert to an ancestral type, 
which type, in proportion to its antiquity, would be of lower 
grade. To this hypothesis, of a genealogical connection 
between man and the lower animals, I shall again allude 
in the concluding chapters. 









Post-pliocene Alluvium containing Flint Implements in 
the Valley of the Somme. 

mHRpUGrHOUT a large part of Europe we find at mode- 
-L rate elevations above the present river-channels, usually 
at a height of less than forty feet but sometimes much 
higher, beds of gravel, sand, and loam containing bones of 
the elephant, rhinoceros, horse, ox, and other quadrupeds, 
some of extinct, others of living, species, belonging for the 
most part to the fauna already alluded to in the last chapter 
as characteristic of the interior of caverns. The greater part 
of these deposits contain fluviatile shells, and have un 
doubtedly been accumulated in ancient river-beds. These 
old channels have long since been dry, the streams which 
once flowed in them having shifted their position, deepening 
the valleys, and often widening them on one side. 

It has naturally been asked, if man coexisted with the 
extinct species of the caves, why were his remains and the 
works of his hands never embedded outside the caves in 
ancient river-gravel containing the same fossil fauna ? Why 
should it be necessary for the geologist to resort for evidence 


of the antiquity of our race to the dark recesses of under 
ground vaults and tunnels, which may have served as places 
of refuge or sepulture to a succession of human beings and 
wild animals, and where floods may have confounded to 
gether in one breccia the memorials of the fauna of more 
than one epoch ? Why do we not meet with a similar as 
semblage of the relics of man, and of living and extinct 
quadrupeds, in places where the strata can be thoroughly 
scrutinised in the light of day ? 

Recent researches have at length demonstrated that such 
memorials, so long sought for in vain, do in fact exist, and 
their recognition is the chief cause of the more favourable 
reception now given to the conclusions which MM. Tournal, 
Christol, Schmerling, and others, arrived at thirty years ago 
respecting the fossil contents of caverns. 

The first great step in this new direction was made 
thirteen years after the publication of Schmerling's ( Re 
searches,' by M. Boucher de Perthes, who found in ancient 
alluvium at Abbeville, in Picardy, some flint implements, 
the relative antiquity of which was attested by their geologi 
cal position. The antiquarian knowledge of their discoverer 
enabled him to recognise in their rude and peculiar type a 
character distinct from that of the polished stone weapons 
of a later period, usually called * celts.' In the first 
volume of his f Antiquites Celtiques,' published in 1847, 
M. Boucher de Perthes styled these older tools ( antedilu 
vian,' because they came from the lowest beds of a series of 
ancient alluvial strata bordering the valley of the Somme, 
which geologists had termed ' diluvium.' He had begun to 
collect these implements in 1841, from which time they had 
been dug out of the drift or deposits of gravel and sand 
whenever excavations were made in repairing the fortifica 
tions of Abbeville ; or annually, as often as flints were wanted 
for the roads, or loam for making bricks. Fine sections, 


therefore, were laid open, from twenty to thirty-five feet in 
depth, and the bones of quadrupeds of the genera elephant, 
rhinoceros, bear, hysena, stag, ox, horse, and others, were 
found, and had been sent from time to time to Paris to be 
examined and named by Cuvier, who described them in his 
' Ossements Fossiles.' A correct account of the associated 
flint tools and of their position was given in 1847 by 
M. Boucher de Perthes in his work above cited, and they 
were stated to occur at various depths, often twenty or thirty 
feet from the surface, in sand and gravel, especially in those 
strata which were nearly in contact with the subjacent white 
chalk. But the scientific world had no faith in the state 
ment that works of art, however rude, had been met with in 
undisturbed beds of such antiquity. Few geologists visited 
Abbeville in winter, when the sand-pits were open, and when 
they might have opportunities of verifying the sections, and 
judging whether the instruments had really been embedded 
by natural causes in the same strata with the bones of the 
mammoth, rhinoceros, and other extinct mammalia. Some 
of the tools figured in the e Antiquites Celtiques ' were so 
rudely shaped, that many imagined them to have owed their 
peculiar forms to accidental fracture in a river's bed ; others 
suspected frauds on the part of the workmen, who might 
have fabricated them for sale, or that the gravel had been 
disturbed, and that the worked flints had got mingled with 
the bones of the mammoth long after that animal and its 
associates had disappeared from the earth. 

No one was more sceptical than the late eminent physician 
of Amiens, Dr. Eigollot, who had long before (in the year 
1819) written a memoir on the fossil mammalia of the valley 
of the Somme. He was at length induced to visit Abbe 
ville, and, having inspected the collection of M. Boucher de 
Perthes, returned home resolved to look for himself for flint 
tools in the gravel-pits near Amiens. There, accordingly, at 


a distance of about forty miles from Abbeville, he imme 
diately found abundance of similar flint implements, precisely 
the same in the rudeness of their make, and the same in their 
geological position ; some of them in gravel nearly on a level 
with the Somme, others in similar deposits resting on chalk at 
a height of about ninety feet above the river. 

Dr. Eigollot having in the course of four years obtained 
several hundred specimens of these tools, most of them from 
St. Acheul in the south-east suburbs of Amiens, lost no 
time in communicating an account of them to the scientific 
world, in a memoir illustrated by good figures of the worked 
flints and careful sections of the beds. These sections were 
executed by M. Buteux, an engineer well qualified for the 
task, who had written a good description of the geology of Pi- 
cardy. Dr. Eigollot, in this memoir, pointed out most clearly 
that it was not in the vegetable soil, nor in the brick-earth with 
land and fresh- water shells next below, but in the lower beds 
of coarse flint-gravel, usually twelve, twenty, or twenty-five 
feet below the surface, that the implements were met with, just 
as they had been previously stated by M. Boucher de Perthes 
to occur at Abbeville. The conclusion, therefore, which was 
legitimately deduced from all the facts, was that the flint 
tools and their fabricators were coeval with the extinct mam 
malia embedded in the same strata. 

Brixham Cave, near Torquay, Devonshire. 

Four years after the appearance of Dr. Eigollot's paper, a 
sudden change of opinion was brought about in England 
respecting the probable coexistence, at a former period, of 
man and many extinct mammalia, in consequence of the 
results obtained from a careful exploration of a cave at 
Brixham, near Torquay, in Devonshire. As the new views 
very generally adopted by English geologists had no small 


influence on the subsequent progress of opinion in France, 
I shall interrupt my account of the researches made in 
the Valley of the Somme, by a brief notice of those which 
were carried on in 1858 in Devonshire with more than 
usual care and scientific method. Dr. Buckland, in his 
celebrated work, entitled ( KeliquiaB Diluvianse,' published 
in 1823, in which he treated of the organic remains con 
tained in caves, fissures, and ' diluvial gravel ' in England, 
had given a clear statement of the results of his own original 
observations, and had declared that none of the human bones 
or stone implements met with by him in any of the caverns 
could be considered to be as old as the mammoth and other 
extinct quadrupeds. Opinions in harmony with this con 
clusion continued until very lately to be generally in vogue 
in England ; although about the time that Schmerling was 
exploring the Liege caves, the Eev. Mr. M'Enery, a Eoman 
Catholic priest, residing near Torquay, had found in a cave 
one mile east of that town, called ' Kent's Hole,' in red loam 
covered with stalagmite, not only bones of the mammoth, 
tichorhine rhinoceros, cave-bear, and other mammalia, but 
several remarkable flint tools, some of which he supposed to 
be of great antiquity, while there were also remains of man 
in the same cave of a later date.* 

About ten years afterwards, in a < Memoir on the Greology 
of South Devon,' published in 1842 by the Geological Society 
of London, f an able geologist, Mr. Grodwin-Austen, de 
clared that he had obtained in the same cave (Kent's Hole) 

* The MS. and plates prepared for ments of an antique type and the 
a joint memoir on Kent's Hole, by bones of extinct animals. Two of 
Mr. M'Enery and Dr. Buckland, have these implements from Kent's Hole, 
recently been published by Mr. Vivian figured in Plate 12 of the posthumous 
of Torquay, from which, as well as work above alluded to, approach 
from some of the unprinted MS., I very closely in form and size to the 
infer that Mr. M'Enery only refrained common Abbeville implements, 
out of deference to Dr. Buckland from f Transactions of Geological So- 
declaring his belief in the contempo- eiety, 2nd series, vol. vi. p. 444. 
raneousness of certain flint imple- 


works of man from undisturbed loam or clay, under stalag 
mite, mingled with the remains of extinct animals, and that 
all these must have been introduced e before the stalagmite 
flooring had been formed.' He maintained that such facts 
could not be explained away by the hypothesis of sepulture, 
as in Dr. Buckland's well-known case of the human skeleton 
of Paviland, because in the Devon cave the flint implements 
were widely distributed through the loam, and lay beneath 
the stalagmite. 

As the osseous and other contents of Kent's Hole had, by 
repeated diggings, been thrown into much confusion, it was 
thought desirable in 1858, when the entrance of a new and 
intact bone-cave was discovered at Brixham, three or four 
miles west of Torquay, to have a thorough and systematic 
examination made of it. The Eoyal Society made two 
grants towards defraying the expenses,* and a committee of 
geologists was charged with the investigations, among whom 
Mr. Prestwich and Dr. Falconer took an active part, visiting 
Torquay while the excavations were in progress under the 
superintendence of Mr. Pengelly. The last-mentioned geo 
logist had the kindness to conduct me through the sub 
terranean galleries after they had been cleared out in 1859 ; 
and I saw, in company with Dr. Falconer, the numerous 
fossils which had been taken from the subterranean fissures 
and tunnels, all labelled and numbered, with references to a 
journal kept during the progress of the work, and in which 
the geological position of every specimen was recorded with 
scrupulous care. 

The discovery of the existence of this suite of caverns near 
the sea at Brixham was made accidentally by the roof of 
one of them falling in. None of the five external openings 
now exposed to view in steep cliffs or the sloping side of a 

* When these grants failed, Miss quay, liberally supplied the funds for 
Burdett Coutts, then residing at Tor- completing the work. 


valley were visible before the breccia and earthy matter 
which blocked them up were removed during the late 
exploration. According to a ground-plan drawn up by 
Professor Kamsay, it appears that some of the passages 
which run nearly north and south are fissures connected 
with the vertical dislocation of the rocks, while another set, 
running nearly east and west, are tunnels, which have the 
appearance of having been to a great extent hollowed out by 
the action of running water. The central or main entrance, 
leading to what is called the f reindeer gallery,' because a 
perfect antler of that animal was found sticking in the 
stalagmitic floor, is ninety-five feet above the level of the 
sea, being also about sixty above the bottom of the adjoining 
valley. The united length of the five galleries which were 
cleared out amounted to several hundred feet. Their width 
never exceeded eight feet. They were sometimes filled up 
to the roof with gravel, bones, and mud, but occasionally 
there was a considerable space between the roof and floor. 
The latter, in the case of the fissure-caves, was covered with 
stalagmite, but in the tunnels it was usually free from any 
such incrustation. The following was the general succession 
of the deposits forming the contents of the underground 
passages and channels : 

1st. At the top, a layer of stalagmite varying in thick 
ness from one to fifteen inches, which sometimes contained 
bones, such as the reindeer's horn, already mentioned, and 
an entire humerus of the cave-bear. 

2ndly. Next below, loam or bone-earth, of an ochreous red 
colour, from one foot to fifteen feet in thickness. 

Srdly. At the bottom of all, gravel with many rounded 
pebbles in it, probed in some places to the depth of twenty 
feet without its being pierced through, and as it was barren 
of fossils, left for the most part unremoved. 

The mammalia obtained from the bone-earth consisted of 


Elephas primigenius, or mammoth ; Rhinoceros tichorhinus ; 
Ursus spelceus ; Hycena spelcea ; Felis spelcea, or the cave- 
lion ; Cervus Tarandus, or the reindeer ; a species of horse, 
ox, and several rodents, and others not yet determined. 

No human bones were obtained anywhere during these 
excavations, but many flint knives, chiefly from the lowest 
part of the bone-earth ; and one of the most perfect lay at 
the depth of thirteen feet from the surface, and was covered 
with bone-earth of that thickness. From a similar position 
was taken one of those siliceous nuclei, or cores, from which 
flint flakes had been struck off on every side. Neglecting 
the less perfect specimens, some of which were met with 
even in the lowest gravel, about fifteen knives, recognised 
as artificially formed by the most experienced antiquaries, 
were taken from the bone-earth, and usually from near the 
bottom. Such knives, considered apart from the associated 
mammalia, afford in themselves no safe criterion of antiquity, 
as they might belong to any part of the age of stone, similar 
tools being sometimes met with in tumuli posterior in date 
to the era of the introduction of bronze. But the anteriority 
of those at Brixham to the extinct animals is demonstrated 
not only by the occurrence at one point in overlying stalagmite 
of the bone of a cave-bear, but also by the discovery at the 
same level in the bone-earth, and in close proximity to a 
very perfect flint tool, of the entire left hind-leg of a cave- 
bear. This specimen, which was shown me by Dr. Falconer 
and Mr. Pengelly, was exhumed from the earthy deposit in 
the reindeer gallery, near its junction with the flint-knife 
gallery, at the distance of about sixty-five feet from the main 
entrance. The mass of earth containing it was removed 
entire, and the matrix cleared away carefully by Dr. Fal 
coner in the presence of Mr. Pengelly. Every bone was in 
its natural place, the femur, tibia, fibula, ankle-bone, or 
astragalus, all in juxta-position. Even the patella or de- 


tached bone of the knee-pan was searched for, and not in 
vain. Here, therefore, we have evidence of an entire limb 
not having been washed in a fossil state out of an older 
alluvium, and then swept afterwards into a cave, so as to be 
mingled with flint implements, but having been introduced 
when clothed with its flesh, or at least when it had the 
separate bones bound together by their natural ligaments, 
and in that state buried in mud. 

If they were not all of contemporary date, it is clear from 
this case, and from the humerus of the Ursus spelceus, 
before cited, as found in a floor of stalagmite, that the bear 
lived after the flint tools were manufactured, or in other 
words, that man in this district preceded the cave-bear. 

A glance at the position of the Brixham limestone con 
taining the ossiferous caverns and fissures, and a brief survey 
of the valleys which bound it on two sides, are enough to 
satisfy a geologist that the drainage and geographical fea 
tures of this region have undergone great changes since the 
gravel and bone-earth were carried by streams into the sub 
terranean cavities above described. Some worn pebbles of 
hematite, in particular, can only have come from their 
nearest parent rock, at a period when the valleys imme 
diately adjoining the caves were much shallower than they 
now are. The reddish loam in which the bones are em 
bedded is such as may be seen on the surface of limestone in 
the neighbourhood, but the currents which were formerly 
charged with such mud must have run at a level sixty feet 
above that of the stream now flowing in the same valley. 
It was remarked by Mr. Pengelly, that the pebbles in the 
gravel and the bones in the loam had their longer axes 
parallel to the direction of the tunnels and fissures, showing 
that they were deposited by the action of a stream. 

It appears that so long as the flowing water had force 
enough to propel stony fragments, no layer of fine mud could 


accumulate, and so long as there was a regular current 
capable of carrying in fine mud and bones, no superficial 
crust of stalagmite. In some passages, as before stated, sta 
lagmite was wanting, while in one place five alternations of 
stalagmite and sand were observed, seeming to indicate a 
prevalence of more rainy seasons, succeeded by others, when 
the water was for a time too low to flood the area where the 
calcareous incrustation accumulated. 

If the regular sequence of the three deposits of pebbles, 
mud, and stalagmite was the result of the causes above 
explained, the order of superposition would be constant, 
yet we could not be sure that the gravel in one passage 
might not sometimes be coeval with the bone-earth or stalag 
mite in another. 

If therefore the flint knives had not been very widely 
dispersed, and if one of them had not been at the bottom of 
the bone-earth, close to the leg of the bear above described, 
their antiquity relatively to the extinct mammalia might 
have been questioned. No coprolites were found in the 
Brixham excavations, and very few gnawed bones. These 
few may have been brought from some distance, before they 
reached their place of rest. Upon the whole, the same con 
clusion which Dr. Schmerling came to, respecting the filling 
up of the caverns near Liege, seems applicable to the caves of 

Dr. Falconer, after aiding in the investigations above al 
luded to near Torquay, stopped at Abbeville on his way to 
Sicily, in the autumn of 1858, and saw there the collection of 
M. Boucher de Perthes. Being at once satisfied that the flints 
called hatchets had really been fashioned by the hand of man, 
he urged Mr. Prestwich, by letter, thoroughly to explore the 
geology of the Valley of the Somme. This he accordingly 
accomplished, in company with Mr. John Evans, of the 
Society of Antiquaries, and, before his return that same year, 


succeeded in dissipating all doubts from the minds of his geo 
logical friends by extracting, with his own hands, from a bed of 
undisturbed gravel, at St. Acheul, a well-shaped flint hatchet. 
This implement was buried in the gravel at a depth of seven 
teen feet from the surface, and was lying on its flat side. 
There were no signs of vertical rents in the enveloping matrix, 
nor in the overlying beds of sand and loam, in which were many 
land and fresh-water shells ; so that it was impossible, to ima 
gine that the tool had gradually worked its way downwards, 
as some had suggested, through the incumbent soil, into an 
older formation.* 

There was no one in England whose authority deserved to 
have more weight in overcoming incredulity in regard to 
the antiquity of the implements in question than that of 
Mr. Prestwich, since, besides having published a series of 
important memoirs on the tertiary formations of Europe, he 
had devoted many years specially to the study of the drift 
and its organic remains. His report, therefore, to the Eoyal 
Society, accompanied by a photograph showing the position 
of the flint tool in situ before it was removed from its 
matrix, not only satisfied many inquirers, but induced others 
to visit Abbeville and Amiens ; and one of these, Mr. Flower, 
who accompanied Mr. Prestwich on his second excursion to 
St. Acheul, in June 1859, succeeded, by digging into the 
bank of gravel, in disinterring, at the depth of twenty-two 
feet from the surface, a fine, symmetrically shaped weapon 
of an oval form, tying in and beneath strata which were ob 
served by many witnesses to be perfectly undisturbed.f 

Shortly afterwards, in the year 1859, I visited the same 
pits, and obtained seventy flint tools, one of which was taken 
out while I was present, though I did not see it before it had 

* Prestwich, Proceedings of the f Geological Quarterly Journal, 

Royal Society, 1859, and Philoso- vol. xvi. p. 190. 
phical Transactions, 1860. 


fallen from the matrix. I expressed my opinion in favour of 
the antiquity of the flint tools to the meeting of the British 
Association at Aberdeen, in the same year.* On my way 
through Eouen, I stated my convictions on this subject to 
Mr. George Pouchet, who immediately betook himself to 
St. Acheul, commissioned by the municipality of Eouen, and 
did not quit the pits till he had seen one of the hatchets 
extracted from gravel in its natural position, f 

M. Gaudry also gave the foil owing account of his researches 
in the same year to the Eoyal Academy of Sciences at Paris. 
( The great point was not to leave the workmen for a single 
instant, and to satisfy oneself by actual inspection, whether 
the hatchets were found in situ. I caused a deep excavation 
to be made, and found nine hatchets, most distinctly in situ 
in the diluvium, associated with teeth of Equus fossilis and a 
species of Bos, different from any now living, and similar to 
that of the diluvium and of caverns.'J In 1859, M. Hebert, 
an original observer of the highest authority, declared to the 
Geological Society of France that he had, in 1854, or four 
years before Mr. Prestwich's visit to St. Acheul, seen the 
sections at Abbeville and Amiens, and had come to the 
opinion that the hatchets were imbedded in the ' lower di 
luvium,' and that their origin was as ancient as that of the 
mammoth and the rhinoceros. M. Desnoyers also made 
excavations after M. Gaudry, at St. Acheul, in 1859, with the 
same results. 

After a lively discussion on the subject in England and 
France, it was remembered, not .only that there were nume 
rous recorded cases leading to similar conclusions in regard to 
cavern deposits, but, also, that Mr. Frere had, so long ago as 

* See Proceedings of British Asso- | Comptes rendus, September 26th, 

ciation for 1859. and October 3rd, 1859. 

f Actes du Musee d'Histoire Natu- Bulletin, vol. xvii. p. 18. 

relle de Eouen, 1860, p. 33. 


1797, found flint weapons, of the same type as those of Amiens, 
in a fresh-water formation in Suffolk, in conjunction with 
elephant remains ; and nearly a hundred years earlier (1715), 
another tool of the same kind had been exhumed from the 
gravel of London, together with bones of an elephant ; to 
all which examples I shall allude more fully in the sequel. 

I may conclude this chapter by quoting a saying of Pro 
fessor Agassiz, 'that whenever a new and startling fact is 
brought to light in science, people first say, " it is not true," 
then that " it is contrary to religion," and lastly, " that every 
body knew it before." ' 

If I were considering merely the cultivators of geology, I 
should say that the doctrine of the former co-existence of 
man with many extinct mammalia had already gone through 
these three phases in the progress of every scientific truth 
towards acceptance. But the grounds of this belief have not 
yet been fully laid before the general public, so as to enable 
them fairly to weigh and appreciate the evidence. I shall 
therefore do my best in the next three chapters to accomplish 
this task. 











Geological Structure of the Somme Valley. 

rFHE Valley of the Somme in Picardy, alluded to in the last 
J- chapter, is situated geologically in a region of white 
chalk with flints, the strata of which are nearly horizontal. 
The chalk hills which hound the valley are almost everywhere 
between 200 and 300 feet in height. On ascending to that ele 
vation, we find ourselves on an extensive table-land, in which 
there are slight elevations and depressions. The white chalk 
itself is scarcely ever exposed at the surface on this plateau, 
although seen on the slopes of the hills, as at b and c (fig, 7 ). 
The general surface of the upland region is covered continu 
ously for miles in every direction by loam or brick-earth (No. 4), 
about five feet thick, devoid of fossils. To the wide extent of 
this loam the soil of Picardy chiefly owes its great fertility. 
Here and there we also observe, on the chalk, outlying 
patches of tertiary sand and clay (No. 5, fig. 7), with eocene 
fossils, the remnants of a formation once more extensive, and 
which probably once spread in one continuous mass over the 
chalk, before the present system of valleys had begun to be 
shaped out. It is necessary to allude to these relics of 


tertiary strata, of which the larger part is missing, because 
their denudation has contributed largely to furnish the 
materials of gravels in which the flint implements and 
bones of extinct mammalia are entombed. From this 
source have been derived not only the regular-formed egg- 
shaped pebbles, so common in the old fluviatile alluvium at 
all levels, but those huge masses of hard sandstone, several 
feet in diameter, to which I shall allude in the sequel. The 
upland loam also (No. 4) has often, in no slight degree, been 
formed at the expense of the same tertiary sands and clays, as 
is attested by its becoming more or less sandy or argillaceous, 
according to the nature of the nearest eocene outlier in the 

Fig. 7 

Section across the Valley of the Somme in Picardy. 

1 Peat, twenty to thirty feet thick, resting on gravel, a. 

2 Lower level gravel with elephants' bones and flint tools, covered 

with fluviatile loam, twenty to forty feet thick. 

3 Upper level gravel with similar fossils, and with overlying loam, in 

all thirty feet thick. 

4 Upland loam without shells (Limon des plateaux), five or six feet 


5 Eocene tertiary strata, resting on the chalk in patches. 

The average width of the Valley of the Somme between 
Amiens and Abbeville is one mile. The height, therefore, of 
the hills, in relation to the river-plain, could not be correctly 
represented in the annexed diagram (fig. 7), the hills having 
been reduced to one fourth of their altitude. It would other 
wise have been necessary to make the space between c and b 
four times as great. The dimensions also of the masses of 
drift or alluvium, 2 and 3, have been exaggerated, in order to 
render them sufficiently conspicuous ; for, all important as we 
shall find them to be as geological monuments of the post- 
pliocene period, they form a truly insignificant feature in the 


general structure of the country, so much so, that they might 
easily be overlooked in a cursory survey of the district, and 
are usually unnoticed in geological maps not specially devoted 
to the superficial formations. 

It will be seen by the description given of the section, fig. 7, 
that No. 2 indicates the lower level gravels, and No. 3 the 
higher ones, or those rising to elevations of eighty or a hundred 
feet above the river. Newer than these is the peat No. 1, which 
is from ten to thirty feet in thickness, and which is not only of 
later date than the alluvium, 2 and 3, but is also posterior to 
the denudation of those gravels, or to the time when the valley 
was excavated through them. Underneath the peat is a bed 
of gravel, a, from three to fourteen feet thick, which rests on 
undisturbed chalk. This gravel was probably formed, in part 
at least, when the valley was scooped out to its present 
depth, since which time no geological change has taken place, 
except the growth of the peat, and certain oscillations in the 
general level of the country, to which we shall allude by and 
by. A thin layer of impervious clay separates the gravel a from 
the peat No. 1, and seems to have been a necessary pre 
liminary to the growth of the peat. 

Peat of the Valley of the Somme. 

As hitherto, in our retrospective survey, we have been 
obliged, for the sake of proceeding from the known to the 
less known, to reverse the natural order of history, and to 
treat of the newer before the older formations, I shall begin 
my account of the geological monuments of the Valley of the 
Somme by saying something of the most modern of all of 
them, the peat. This substance occupies the lower parts of 
the valley far above Amiens, and below Abbeville as far as 
the sea. It has already been stated to be in some places thirty 
feet thick, and is even occasionally more than thirty feet, 


corresponding in that respect to the Danish mosses before de 
scribed (Ch. II.). Like them, it belongs to the recent period ; 
all the embedded mammalia, as well as the shells, being of 
the same species as those now inhabiting Europe. The bones 
of quadrupeds are very numerous, as I can bear witness, 
having seen them brought up from a considerable depth near 
Abbeville, almost as often as the dredging instrument was 
used. Besides remains of the beaver, I was shown, in the col 
lection of M. Boucher de Perthes, two perfect lower jaws with 
teeth of the bear, Ursus Arctos ; and in the Paris Museum 
there is another specimen, also from the Abbeville peat. 

The list of mammalia already comprises a large proportion 
of those proper to the Swiss lake-dwellings, and to the shell- 
mounds and peat of Denmark ; but unfortunately as yet no 
special study has been made of the French fauna, like that 
by which the Danish and Swiss zoologists and botanists have 
enabled us to compare the wild and tame animals and the 
vegetation of the age of stone with that of the age of iron. 

Notwithstanding the abundance of mammalian bones in 
the peat, and the frequency of stone implements of the Celtic 
and Gallo-Eoman periods, M. Boucher de Perthes has only 
met with three or four fragments of human skeletons. 

At some depth in certain places in the valley near Abbe 
ville, the trunks of alders have been found standing erect as 
they grew, with their roots fixed in an ancient soil, afterwards 
covered with peat. Stems of the hazel, and nuts of the same, 
abound ; trunks, also, of the oak and walnut. The peat 
extends to the coast, and is there seen passing under the 
sand-dunes and below the sea-level. At the mouth of the 
river Canche, which joins the sea near the embouchure of 
the Somme, yew trees, firs, oaks, and hazels have been dug 
out of peat, which is there worked for fuel, and is about three 
feet thick.* During great storms, large masses of compact 

* D'Archiac, Hist, des Progres, vol. ii. p. 154. 


peat, enclosing trunks of flattened trees, have been thrown 
up on the coast at the mouth of the Somme; seeming to 
indicate that there has been a subsidence of the land and a 
consequent submergence of what was once a westward con 
tinuation of the Valley of the Somme into what is now a 
part of the British Channel, or La Manche. 

Whether the vegetation of the lowest layers of peat differed 
as to the geographical distribution of some of the trees from 
the middle, and this from the uppermost peat, as in Denmark, 
has not yet been ascertained ; nor have careful observations 
been made with a view of calculating the minimum of time 
which the accumulation of so dense a mass of vegetable matter 
must have taken. A foot in thickness of highly compressed 
peat, such as is sometimes reached in the bottom of the bogs, 
is obviously the equivalent in time of a much greater thickness 
of peat of spongy and loose texture, found near the surface. 
The workmen who cut peat, or dredge it up from the bottom 
of swamps and ponds, declare that in the course of their lives 
none of the hollows which they have found, or caused by ex 
tracting peat, have ever been refilled, even to a small extent. 
They deny, therefore, that the peat grows. This, as M. Boucher 
de Perthes observes, is a mistake ; but it implies that the 
increase in one generation is not very appreciable by the 

The antiquary finds near the surface Grallo-Eoman remains, 
and still deeper Celtic weapons of the stone period. But the 
depth at which Roman works of art occur varies in different 
places, and is no sure test of age ; because in some parts of 
the swamps, especially near the river, the peat is often so fluid 
that heavy substances may sink through it, carried down by 
their own gravity. In one case, however, M. Boucher de 
Perthes observed several large flat dishes of Roman pottery, 
lying in a horizontal position in the peat, the shape of 
which must have prevented them from sinking or penetrating 


through the underlying peat. Allowing about fourteen cen 
turies for the growth of the superincumbent vegetable matter, 
he calculated that the thickness gained in a hundred years 
would be no more than three French centimetres.* This rate 
of increase would demand so many tens of thousands of years 
for the formation of the entire thickness of thirty feet, that 
we must hesitate before adopting it as a chronometric scale. 
Yet, by multiplying observations of this kind, and bringing 
one to bear upon and check another, we may eventually suc 
ceed in obtaining data for estimating the age of the peaty 

The rate of increase in Denmark may not be applicable to 
France ; because differences in the humidity of the climate, 
or in the intensity and duration of summer's heat and winter's 
cold, as well as diversity in the species of plants which most 
abound, would cause the peat to grow more or less rapidly, 
not only when we compare two distinct countries in Europe, 
but the same country at two successive periods. 

I have already alluded to some facts which favour the idea 
that there has been a change of level on the coast since the 
peat began to grow. This conclusion seems confirmed by the 
mere thickness of peat at Abbeville, and the occurrence of 
alder and hazel-wood near the bottom of it. If thirty feet 
of peat were now removed, the sea would flow up and fill the 
valley for miles above Abbeville. Yet this vegetable matter 
is all of submarine or fresh-water origin, for where aquatic 
shells occur in it they are all of terrestrial or fluviatile kinds, 
so that it must have grown above the sea-level when the 
land was more elevated than now. We have already seen 
what changes in the relative level of sea and land have oc 
curred in Scotland subsequently to the time of the Eomans, 
and are therefore prepared to meet with proofs of similar 
movements in Picardy. In that country they have probably 

* Antiquites Celtiques, vol. ii. p. 134. 


not been confined simply to subsidence, but have comprised 
oscillations in the level of the land, by which marine shells 
of the post-pliocene period have been raised some ten feet or 
more above the level of the sea. 

Small as is the progress hitherto made in interpreting the 
pages of the peaty record, their importance in the Valley of 
the Somme is enhanced by the reflection that, whatever be 
the number of centuries to which they relate, they belong 
to times posterior to the ancient implement-bearing beds, 
which we are next to consider, and are even separated from 
them, as we shall see, by an interval far greater than that 
which divides the earliest strata of the peat from the latest. 

Flint Implements of the Post-pliocene Period in the Valley 
of the Somme. 

The alluvium of the Valley of the Somme exhibits no 
thing extraordinary or exceptional in its position or external 
appearance, nor in the arrangement or composition of its 
materials, nor in its organic remains ; in all these cha 
racters it might be matched by the drift of a hundred other 
valleys in France or England. Its claim to our peculiar 
attention is derived from the wonderful number of flint 
tools, of a very antique type, which, as stated in the last 
chapter, occur in undisturbed strata, associated with the 
bones of extinct quadrupeds. 

As much doubt has been cast on the question, whether the 
so-called flint hatchets have really been shaped by the hands 
of man, it will be desirable to begin by satisfying the reader's 
mind on that point, before inviting him to study the details 
of sections of successive beds of mud, sand, and gravel, which 
vary considerably even in contiguous localities. 

Since the spring of 1859, I have paid three visits to 
the Valley of the Somme, and examined all the principal 


localities of these flint tools. In my excursions around 
Abbeville, I was accompanied by M. Boucher de Perthes, 
and during one of my explorations in the Amiens district, by 
Mr. Prestwich. The first time I entered the pits at 
St. Acheul, I obtained seventy flint instruments, all of them 
collected from the drift in the course of the preceding five 
or six weeks. The two prevailing forms of these tools are 
represented in the annexed figures 8 and 9, each of which are 
half the size of the originals ; the first being the spear-headed 
form, varying in length from six to eight inches ; the second, 
the oval form, which is not unlike some stone implements, 
used to this day as hatchets and tomahawks by natives of 
Australia, but with this difference, that the edge in the 
Australian weapons (as in the case of those called celts in 
Europe) has been produced by friction, whereas the cutting 
edge in the old tools of the Valley of the Somme was always 
gained by the simple fracture of the flint, and by the 
repetition of many dexterous blows. 

The oval-shaped Australian weapons, however, differ in 
being sharpened at one end only. The other, though reduced 
by fracture to the same general form, is left rough, in which 
state it is fixed into a cleft stick, which serves as a handle. 
To this it is firmly bound by thin straps of opossum's hide. 
One of these tools, now in my possession, was given me by 
Mr, Farquharson of Haughton, who saw a native using it in 
1854, on the Auburn river, in Burnet district, North Australia. 

Out of more than a hundred flint implements which I 
obtained at St. Acheul, not a few had their edges more or 
less fractured or worn, either by use as instruments before 
they were buried in gravel, or by being rolled in the river's 

Some of these tools were probably used as weapons, both 
of war and of the chase, others to grub up roots, cut down 
trees, and scoop out canoes. Some of them may have served, 





Fig. 8 

Flint implement from St. Acheul, near Amiens, of the spear-head shape. 

Fig. 8 Half the size of the original, which is seven and a half inches long. 
a Side view. b Same seen edgewise. 

These spear-headed implements have been found in greater number, pro 
portionally to the oval ones, in the upper level gravel at St. Acheul, than 
in any of the lower gravels in the valley of the Somme. In these last the 
oval form predominates, especially at Abbeville. 


Fig. 10 

Flint implements from the Post-pliocene Drift of Abbeville and Amiens. 

Fig. 9 a Oval-shaped flint hatchet from Mautort, near Abbeville, half 
size of original, which is five and a half inches long, from a bed of gravel 
underlying the fluvio-marine stratum. 

b Same seen edgewise. 

c Shows a recent fracture of the edge of the same at the point a, or 
near the top. This portion of the tool, c, is drawn of the natural 
size, the black central part being the unaltered flint, the white 
outer coating, the layer which has been formed by discoloration 
or bleaching since the tool was first made. 

The entire surface of No. 9 must have been black when first shaped, 
and the bleaching to such a depth must have been the work of 
time, whether produced by exposure to the sun and air before it 
was embedded, or afterwards when it lay deep in the soil. 

Fig. 10. Flint tool from St. Acheul, seen edgewise; original, six and a half 
inches long, and three inches wide. 

b, c Portion not artificially shaped. 

b, a Part chipped into shape, and having a cutting edge at a. 

I 2 


as Mr. Prestwich has suggested, for cutting holes in the ice 
both for fishing and for obtaining water, as will be explained 
in the 8th chapter when we consider the arguments in favour 
of the higher level drift having belonged to a period when 
the rivers were frozen over for several months every winter. 

When the natural form of a chalk-flint presented a 
suitable handle at one end, as in the specimen, fig. 10, that 
part was left as found. The portion, for example, between 
b and c has probably not been altered ; the protuberances 
which are fractured having been broken off by river action 
before the flint was chipped artificially. The other ex 
tremity, a, has been worked till it acquired a proper shape 
and cutting edge. 

Many of the hatchets are stained of an ochreous-yellow 
colour, when they have been buried in yellow gravel, others 
have acquired white or brown tints, according to the matrix 
in which they have been enclosed. 

This accordance in the colouring of the flint tools with the 
character of the bed from which they have come, indicates, 
says Mr. Prestwich, not only a real derivation from such strata, 
but also a sojourn therein of equal duration to that of the 
naturally broken flints forming part of the same beds.* 

The surface of many of the tools is encrusted with a film 
of carbonate of lime, while others are adorned by those 
ramifying crystallisations called dendrites (see figs. 11 13), 
usually consisting of the mixed oxyds of iron and manganese, 
forming extremely delicate blackish brown sprigs, resembling 
the smaller kinds of sea weed. They are a useful test of 
antiquity when suspicions are entertained of the workmen 
having forged the hatchets which they offer for sale. The 
most general test, however, of the genuineness of the imple 
ments obtained by purchase is their superficial varnish-like 
or vitreous gloss, as contrasted with the dull aspect of freshly 

* Philosophical Transactions, 1861, p. 297. 


fractured flints. I also remarked, during each of my three 
visits to Amiens, that there were some extensive gravel-pits, 
such as those of Montiers and St. Roch, agreeing in their 
geological character with those of St. Acheul, and only a mile 
or two distant, where the workmen, although familiar with 
the forms, and knowing the marketable value of the articles 
above described, assured me that they had never been able 
to find a single implement. 

Fig. 12 Fig. 13 

Dendrites on surfaces of flint hatchets in the drift of St. Acheul, near Amiens. 

Fig. 11, a Natural size. Fig. 12, b Natural size. c Magnified. 

Fig. 13, d Natural size, e Magnified. 

Respecting the authenticity of the tools as works of 
art, Professor Ramsay, than whom no one could be a more 
competent judge, observes : ' For more than twenty years, 
like others of my craft, I have daily handled stones, whether 
fashioned by nature or art ; and the flint hatchets of Amiens 
and Abbeville seem to me as clearly works of art as any 
Sheffield whittle.'* 

Mr. Evans classifies the implements under three heads, 
two of which, the spear heads and the oval or almond-shaped 
kinds, have already been described. The third form, fig. 14, 
consists of flakes, apparently intended for knives or some 
of the smaller ones for arrow heads. 

In regard to their origin, Mr. Evans observes that there 
is a uniformity of shape, a correctness of outline, and a 
sharpness about the cutting edges and points, which cannot 
be due to anything but design. f 

Of these knives and flakes, I obtained several specimens 

* Athenaeum, July 16, 1859. f Archseologica, voL xxxviii. 


from a pit which I caused to be dug at Abbeville, in sand in 
contact with the chalk, and below certain fluvio-marine beds, 
which will be alluded to in the next chapter. 

Flint knife or flake from below the sand containing Cyrena flnminalis. 
Menchecourt, Abbeville. 

d Transverse section along the line of fracture, b, c. 
Size, two-thirds of the original. 

Between the spear-head and oval shapes, there are various 
intermediate gradations, and there are also a vast variety of 
very rude implements, many of which may have been rejected 
as failures, and others struck off as chips in the course of 
manufacturing the more perfect ones. Some of these chips 
can only be recognised by an experienced eye as bearing 
marks of human workmanship. 

It has often been asked, how, without the use of metallic 
hammers, so many of these oval and spear-headed tools could 
have been wrought into so uniform a shape. Mr. Evans, in 
order experimentally to illustrate the process, constructed a 
stone hammer, by mounting a pebble in a wooden handle, 
and with this tool struck off flakes from the edge on both 
sides of a chalk flint, till it acquired precisely the same shape 
as the oval tool, fig, 9,*p. 115. 

If I were invited to estimate the probable number of the 
more perfect tools found in the valley of the Somme since 
1842, rejecting all the knives, and all that might be suspected 
of being spurious or forged, I should conjecture that they far 
exceeded a thousand. Yet it would be a great mistake to 
imagine that an antiquary or geologist, who should devote 
a few weeks to the exploration of such a valley as that of the 


Somme, would himself be able to detect a single specimen. 
But few tools were lying on the surface. The rest have been 
exposed to view by the removal of such a volume of sand, 
clay, and gravel, that the price of the discovery of one of 
them could only be estimated by knowing how many hundred 
labourers have toiled at the fortifications of Abbeville, or in 
the sand and gravel pits near that city, and around Amiens, 
for road materials and other economical purposes, during the 
last twenty years. 

In the gravel pits of St. Acheul, and in some others near 
Amiens, small round bodies, having a tubular cavity in the 
centre, occur. They are well known as fossils of the white 
chalk. Dr. Eigollot suggested that they might have been 

a, b Coscinopora globularis If Orb. Orbitolina concava Parker and Jones, 
c Part of the same magnified. 

strung together as beads, and he supposed the hole in the 
middle to have been artificial. Some of these round bodies 
are found entire in the chalk and in the gravel, others have 
naturally a hole passing through them, and sometimes one 
or two holes penetrating some way in from the surface, 
but not extending to the other side. Others, like 6, fig. 15, 
have a large cavity, which has a very artificial aspect. 
It is impossible to decide whether they have or have not 
served as personal ornaments, recommended by their globular 
form, lightness, and by being less destructible than ordinary 
chalk. Granting that there were natural cavities in the axis of 
some of them, it does not follow that these may not have been 
taken advantage of for stringing them as beads, while others 
may have been artificially bored through. Dr. Rigollot's 


argument in favour of their having been used as necklaces or 
bracelets, appears to me a sound one. He says he often found 
small heaps or groups of them in one place, all perforated, just 
as if, when swept into the river's bed by a flood, the bond which 
had united them together remained unbroken.* 

* Kigollot, M&noire sur des Instruments en Silex, &c. p. 16. Amiens, 1854. 
















IN the section of the valley of the Somme, given at p. 106 
(fig. 7), the successive formations newer than the chalk 
are numbered in chronological order, beginning with the 
most modern, or the peat, which is marked No. 1, and 
which has been treated of in the last chapter. Next in the 
order of antiquity are the lower-level gravels No. 2, which we 
have now to describe; after which the alluvium, No. 3, found 
at higher levels, or about eighty and one hundred feet above 
the river-plain, will remain to be considered. 

I have selected, as illustrating the old alluvium of the 
Somme occurring at levels slightly elevated above the present 
river, the sand and gravel-pits of Menchecourt, in the north 
west suburbs of Abbeville, to which, as before stated, p. 94, 
attention was first drawn by M. Boucher de Perthes, in his 
work on Celtic antiquities. Here, although in every adjoin- 


ing pit some minor variations in the nature and thickness of 
the superimposed deposits may be seen, there is yet a general 
approach to uniformity in the series. The only stratum of 
which the relative age is somewhat doubtful, is the gravel 
marked a, underlying the peat, and resting on the chalk. It 
is only known by borings, and some of it may be of the same 
age as No. 3 ; but I believe it to be for the most part of more 
modern origin, consisting of the wreck of all the older gravel, 
including No. 3, and formed during the last hollowing out 

Fig. 16 

Chalk ^ ^^ 

^a** n 2 Somme .R 

!!!*^nnii = 

Sea, Level 


Section of fluvio-marine strata, containing flint implements and bones of extinct 
mammalia, at Menchecourt, Abbeville.* 

1 Brown clay with angular flints, and occasionally chalk rubble, unstratified, 
following the slope of the hill, probably of subaerial origin, of very varying 
thickness, from two to five feet and upwards. 

2 Calcareous loam, buff-coloured, resembling loess, for the most part un 
stratified, in some places with slight traces of stratification, containing 
freshwater and land shells, with bones of elephants, &c. ; thickness about 
fifteen feet. 

3 Alternations of beds of gravel, marl, and sand, with freshwater and land 
shells, and in some of the lower sands, a mixture of marine shells ; also 
bones of elephant, rhinoceros, &c., and flint implements ; thickness about 
twelve feet. 

a Gravel underlying peat, age undetermined. 

b Layer of impervious clay, separating the gravel from the peat. 

and deepening of the valley immediately before the com 
mencement of the growth of peat. 

The greater number of flint implements have been dug out 
of No. 3, often near the bottom, and twenty-five, thirty, or 
even more than thirty feet below the surface of No. 1. 

* For detailed sections and maps of this district, seePrestwich, Philosophical 
Transactions, 1860, p. 277. 


A geologist will perceive by a glance at the section that 
the valley of the Somme must have been excavated nearly 
to its present depth and width when the strata of No. 3 were 
thrown down, and that after the deposits Nos. 3, 2, and 1 had 
been formed in succession, the present valley was scooped 
out, patches only of Nos. 3 and 2 being left. For these 
deposits cannot originally have ended abruptly as they now 
do, but must have once been continuous farther towards the 
centre of the valley. 

To begin with the oldest, No. 3, it is made up of a suc 
cession of beds, chiefly of freshwater origin, but occasionally 
a mixture of marine and fluviatile shells is observed in it, 
proving that the sea sometimes gained upon the river, whether 
at high tides or when the fresh water was less in quantity 
during the dry season, and sometimes perhaps when the land 
was slightly depressed in level. All these accidents might 
occur again and again at the mouth of any river, and give rise 
to alternations of fluviatile and marine strata, such as are 
seen at Menchecourt. 

In the lowest beds of gravel and sand in contact with the 
chalk, flint hatchets, some perfect, others much rolled, have 
been found; and in a sandy bed in this position some work 
men, whom I employed to sink a pit, found four flint knives. 
Above this sand and gravel occur beds of white and siliceous 
sand, containing shells of the genera Planorbis, Limnea, 
Paludina, Valvata, Cyclas, Cyrena, Helix, and others, all now 
natives of the same part of France, except Cyrena fluminalis 
(fig. 17), which no longer lives in Europe, but inhabits the 
Nile, and many parts of Asia, including Cashmere, where it 
abounds. No species of Cyrena is now met with in a living 
state in Europe. Mr. Prestwich first observed it fossil at 
Menchecourt, and it has since been found in two or three 
contiguous sand-pits, always in the fluvio-marine bed. 

The following marine shells occur mixed with the fresh- 




water species above enumerated: Buccinum undatum, Lit- 
torina littorea, Nassa reticulata, Purpura lapillus, Tellina 
solidula, Cardium edule, and fragments of some others. 
Several of these I have myself collected entire, though in a 
state of great decomposition, lying in the white sand called 
6 sable aigre ' by the workmen. They are all littoral species 
now proper to the contiguous coast of France. Their oc 
currence in a fossil state associated with freshwater shells at 
Menchecourt, had been noticed as long ago as 1836 by 

Fig. 17 

a Interior of left valve, from Gray's Thurrock, Essex. 

b Hinge of same- magnified. 

c Interior of right valve of a small specimen, from Shacklewell, London. 

d Outer surface of right valve, from Erith, Kent. 

Cyrena fluminalis Muller 

Euphratis Chemnitz 
consobrina Gaillaud 
trigonula 8. Wood . 
gemmelarii Philippi 
Duchastelii Nyst 

Corbicula fluminalis Morsch 

Dates of Specific Names. 
. 1774 
. 1782 
. 1823 
. 1834 
. 1836 
. 1838 

MM. Ravin and Baillon, before M. Boucher de Perthes com 
menced the researches which have since made the locality 
so celebrated.* The numbers since collected preclude all 
idea of their having been brought inland as eatable shells by 
the fabricators of the flint hatchets found at the bottom 

* D'Archiac, Histoire des Progres, &c.,vol. ii. p. 154. 


of the fluvio-marine sands. From the same beds, and in 
marls alternating with the sands, remains of the elephant, 
rhinoceros, and other mammalia, have been exhumed. 

Above the fluvio-marine strata are those designated No. 2 
in the section (fig. 16), which are almost devoid of strati 
fication, and probably formed of mud or sediment thrown 
down by the waters of the river when they overflowed the 
ancient alluvial plain of that day. Some land shells, a few 
river shells, and bones of mammalia, some of them extinct, 
occur in No. 2. Its upper surface has been deeply furrowed 
and cut into by the action of water, at the time when the 
earthy matter of No. 1 was superimposed. The materials of 
this uppermost deposit are arranged as if they had been the 
result of land floods, taking place after the formations 2 and 
3 had been raised, or had become exposed to denudation. 

The fluvio-marine strata and overlying loam of Menche- 
court recur on the opposite or left bank of the alluvial 
plain of the Somme, at a distance of two or three miles. 
They are found at Mautort, among other places, and I ob 
tained there the flint hatchet figured at p. 115 (fig. 9), of an 
oval form. It was extracted from gravel, above which were 
strata containing a mixture of marine and freshwater shells, 
precisely like those of Menchecourt. In the alluvium of all 
parts of the valley, both at high and low levels, rolled bones 
are sometimes met with in the gravel. Some of the flint 
tools in the gravel of Abbeville have their angles very 
perfect, others have been much triturated, as if in the bed 
of the main river or some of its tributaries. 

The mammalia most frequently cited as having been 
found in the deposits Nos. 2 and 3 at Menchecourt, are the 
following : 

Elephas primigenius. 
Rhinoceros tichorhinus. 
Equus fossilis Owen. 


Bos primigenius. 

Cervus somonensis Cuvier. 

C. Tarandus prisons Cuvier. 

Felis spelcea. 

Hycena spelcea. 

The ZTrsus spelceus has also been mentioned by some 
writers ; but M. Lartet says he has sought in vain for it 
among the osteological treasures sent from Abbeville to Cuvier 
at Paris, and in other collections. The same palaeontologist, 
after a close scrutiny of the bones sent formerly to the Paris 
Museum from the valley of the Somme, observed that some 
of them bore the evident marks of an instrument, agreeing 
well with incisions such as a rude flint-saw would produce. 
Among other bones mentioned as having been thus artificially 
cut, are those of a Rhinoceros tichorhinus, and the antlers of 
Cervus somonensis.* 

The evidence obtained by naturalists that some of the 
extinct mammalia of Menchecourt really lived and died in 
this part of France, at the time of the embedding of the flint 
tools in fluviatile strata, is most satisfactory ; and not the less 
so for having been put on record long before any suspicion 
was entertained that works of art would ever be detected 
in the same beds. Thus M. Baillon, writing in 1834 to 
M. Ravin, says, ( They begin to meet with fossil bones at 
the depth of ten or twelve feet in the Menchecourt sand-pits, 
but they find a much greater quantity at the depth of eighteen 
and twenty feet. Some of them were evidently broken before 
they were embedded, others are rounded, having, without 
doubt, been rolled by running water. It is at the bottom of 
the sand-pits that the most entire bones occur. Here they 
lie without having undergone fracture or friction, and seem 
to have been articulated together at the time when they 
were covered up. I found in one place a whole hind limb 
* Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, vol. xvi. p. 471. 


of a rhinoceros, the bones of which were still in their usual 
relative position. They must have been joined together by 
ligaments, and even surrounded by muscles at the time of 
their interment. The entire skeleton of the same species 
was lying at a short distance from the spot.' * 

If we suppose that the greater number of the flint imple 
ments occurring in the neighbourhood of Abbeville and 
Amiens were brought by river action into their present 
position, we can at once explain why so large a proportion of 
them are found at considerable depths from the surface, for 
they would naturally be buried in gravel and not in fine 
sediment, or what may be termed ' inundation mud,' such as 
No. 2 (fig. 16, p. 122), a deposit from tranquil water, or where 
the stream had not sufficient force or velocity to sweep along 
chalk flints, whether wrought or unwrought. Hence we 
have almost always to pass down through a mass of incum 
bent loam with land shells, or through fine sand with fresh 
water mollusks, before we get into the beds of gravel con 
taining hatchets. Occasionally a weapon used as a projectile 
may have fallen into quiet water, or may have dropped 
from a canoe to the bottom of the river, or may have been 
floated by ice, as are some stones occasionally by the Thames 
in severe winters, and carried over the meadows bordering its 
banks ; but such cases are exceptional, though helping to 
explain how isolated flint tools or pebbles and angular stones 
are now and then to be seen in the midst of the finest loams. 

The endless variety in the sections of the alluvium of the 
valley of the Somme, may be ascribed to the frequent silting 
up of the main stream and its tributaries during different 
stages of the excavation of the valley, probably also during 
changes in the level of the land. As a rule, when a river 
attacks and undermines one bank, it throws down gravel and 
sand on the opposite side of its channel, which is growing 

* Musee Societe Roy. d'Emulation d' Abbeville, 1834, p. 197. 


shallower, and is soon destined to be raised so high as to form 
an addition to the alluvial plain, and to be only occasionally 
inundated. In this way, after much encroachment on cliff or 
meadow in one direction, we find at the end of centuries that 
the width of the channel has not been enlarged, for the new 
made ground is raised after a time to the full height of the 
older alluvial tract. Sometimes an island is formed in mid 
stream, the current flowing for a while on both sides of it, 
and at length scooping out a deeper channel on one side so 
as to leave the other to be gradually filled up during freshets 
and afterwards elevated by inundation mud, or ' brick-earth.' 
During the levelling up of these old channels, a flood some 
times cuts into and partially removes portions of the previously 
stratified matter, causing those repeated signs of furrowing 
and filling up of cavities, those memorials of doing and 
undoing, of which the tool-bearing sands and gravels of 
Abbeville and Amiens afford such reiterated illustrations, and 
of which a parallel is furnished by the ancient alluvium of the 
Thames valley, where similar bones of extinct mammalia and 
shells, including Cyrena fluminalis, are found. 

Professor Noeggerath, of Bonn, informs me that, about the 
year 1845, when the bed of the Khine was deepened artifi 
cially by the blasting and removal of rock in the narrows at 
Bingerloch, not far from Bingen, several flint hatchets and 
an extraordinary number of iron weapons of the Roman 
period were brought up by the dredge from the bed of the 
great river. The decomposition of the iron had caused much 
of the gravel to be cemented together into a conglomerate. 
In such a case we have only to suppose the Rhine to deviate 
slightly from its course, changing its position, as it has often 
done in various parts of its plain in historical times, and then 
tools of the stone and iron periods w6uld be found in gravel 
at the bottom, with a great thickness of sand and overlying 
loam deposited above them. 


Changes in a river plain, such as those above alluded to, 
give rise frequently to ponds, swamps, and marshes, marking 
the course of old beds or branches of the river not yet filled 
up, and in these depressions shells proper both to running 
and stagnant water may be preserved, and quadrupeds may 
be mired. The latest and uppermost deposit of the series 
will be loam or brick-earth, with land and amphibious shells 
(Helix and Succinea), while below will follow strata contain 
ing freshwater shells, implying continuous submergence; 
and lowest of all in most sections will be the coarse gravel 
accumulated by a current of considerable strength and 

When the St. Katharine docks were excavated at London, 
and similar works executed on the banks of the Mersey, old 
ships were dug out, as I have elsewhere noticed,* showing 
how the Thames and Mersey have in modern times been 
shifting their channels. Recently, an old silted-up bed of 
the Thames has been discovered by boring at Shoeburyness 
at the mouth of the river opposite Sheerness, as I learn from 
Mr. Milne. The old deserted branch is separated from the 
new or present channel of the Thames, by a tertiary outlier 
composed of London clay. The depth of the old branch, or 
the thickness of fluviatile strata with which it has been filled 
up, is seventy-five feet. The actual channel in the neigh 
bourhood is now sixty feet deep, but there is probably ten or 
fifteen feet of stratified sand and gravel at the bottom ; so that, 
should the river deviate again from its course, its present bed 
might be the receptacle of a fluvio-marine formation seventy- 
five feet thick, equal to the former one of Shoeburyness, and 
more considerable than that of Abbeville. It would consist both 
of freshwater and marine strata, as the salt water is carried by 
the tide far up above Sheerness ; but in order that such de- 

* Principles of Geology. 


posits should resemble, in geological position, the Menche- 
court beds, they must be raised ten or fifteen feet above their 
present level, and be partially eroded. Such erosion they 
would not fail to suffer during,the process of upheaval, because 
the Thames would scour out its bed, and not alter its position 
relatively to the sea, while the land was gradually rising. 

Before the canal was made at Abbeville, the tide was per 
ceptible in the Somme for some distance above that city. It 
would only require, therefore, a slight subsidence to allow the 
saltwater to reach Menchecourt, as it did in the post- pliocene 
period. As a stratum containing exclusively land and fresh 
water shells usually underlies the fluvio-marine sands at 
Menchecourt, it seems that the river first prevailed there, after 
which the land subsided ; and then there was an upheaval 
which raised the country to a greater height than that at 
which it now stands, after which there was a second sinking, 
indicated by the position of the peat, as already explained 
(p. 111). All these changes happened since man first in 
habited this region. 

At several places in the environs of Abbeville there are 
nuviatile deposits at a higher level by fifty feet than those 
of Menchecourt, resting in like manner on the chalk. One 
of these occurs in the suburbs of the city at Moulin Quignon, 
one hundred feet above the Somme and on the same side of 
the valley as Menchecourt, and containing flint implements 
of the same antique type and the bones of elephants ; but no 
marine shells have been found there, nor in any gravel or 
sand at higher elevations than the Menchecourt marine shells. 
It has been a matter of discussion among geologists whether 
the higher or the lower sands and gravels of the Somme valley 
are the more ancient. As a general rule, when there are 
alluvial formations of different ages in the same valley, those 
which occupy a more elevated position above the river plain are 
the oldest. In Auvergne and Velay, in Central France, where 


the bones of fossil quadrupeds occur at all heights above the 
present rivers from ten to one thousand feet, we observe the 
terrestrial fauna to depart in character from that now living 
in proportion as we ascend to higher terraces and platforms. 
We pass from the lower alluvium, containing the mammoth, 
tichorhine rhinoceros, and reindeer, to various older groups of 
fossils, till, on a table-land a thousand feet high (near Le Puy, 
for example), the abrupt termination of which overlooks the 
present valley, we discover an old extinct river-bed covered 
by a current of ancient lava, showing where the lowest level 
was once situated. In that elevated alluvium the remains of 
a tertiary mastodon and other quadrupeds of like antiquity 
are embedded. 

If the Menchecourt beds had been first formed, and the 
valley, after being nearly as deep and wide as it is now, had 
subsided, the sea must have advanced inland, causing small 
delta-like accumulations at successive heights, wherever the 
main river and its tributaries met the sea. Such a movement, 
especially if it were intermittent, and interrupted occasionally 
by long pauses, would very well account for the accumulation 
of stratified debris which we encounter at certain points in 
the valley, especially around Abbeville and Amiens. But we 
are precluded from adopting this theory by the entire absence 
of marine shells, and the presence of fresh-water and land 
species, and mammalian bones, in considerable abundance, in 
the drift both of higher and lower levels above Abbeville. 
Had there been a total absence of all organic remains, we 
might have imagined the former presence of the sea, and the 
destruction of such remains might have been ascribed to 
carbonic acid or other decomposing causes; but the post- 
pliocene and implement-bearing strata can be shown by 
their fossils to be of fluviatile origin. 

K 2 


Flint Implements in Gravel near Amiens. 
Gravel of St. Acheul. 

When we ascend the valley of the Somme, from Abbeville 
to Amiens, a distance of about twenty-five miles, we observe 
a repetition of all the same alluvial phenomena which we 
have seen exhibited at Menchecourt and its neighbourhood, 
with the single exception of the absence of marine shells and of 
Cyrena fluminalis. We find lower-level gravel, such as No. 2, 
fig. 7, p. 106, and higher-level alluvium, such as No. 3, the 
latter rising to one hundred feet above the plain, which at 
Amiens is about fifty feet above the level of the river at 
Abbeville. In both the upper and lower gravels, as Dr. Ei- 
gollot stated in 1854, flint tools and the bones of extinct 
animals, together with river shells and land shells of living 
species, abound. 

Immediately below Amiens, a great mass of stratified gravel, 
slightly elevated above the alluvial plain of the Somme, is 
seen at St. Roch, and half a mile farther down the valley at 
Montiers. Between these two places, a small tributary stream, 
called the Celle, joins the Somme. In the gravel at Montiers, 
Mr. Prestwich and I found some flint knives, one of them flat 
on one side, but the other carefully worked, and exhibi 
ting many fractures, clearly produced by blows skilfully 
applied. Some of these knives were taken from so low a level 
as to satisfy us that this great bed of gravel at Montiers, as 
well as that of the contiguous quarries of St. Roch, which 
seems 'to be a continuation of the same deposit, may be 
referred to the human period. Dr. Eigollot had already 
mentioned flint hatchets as obtained by him from St. Koch, 
but as none have been found there of late years, his statement 
was thought to require confirmation. The discovery, therefore, 
of these flint knives in gravel of the same age was interesting, 


Fig. 18 


Elcpkas primigenius. 

Penultimate molar, lower jaw, right side, one-third of natural size, Post-pliocene. 
Coexisted with man. 

Fig, 19 

Elcphas antiquus Falconer. 

Penultimate molar, lower jaw, right side, size one-third of nature, Post-pliocene 
and Newer pliocene. Coexisted with man. 

Fig. 20 * 

Elcphas meridionalis Nesti. 

Penultimate molar, lower jaw, right side, size one-third of original, Newer plio 
cene, Saint Prest, near Chartres, and Norwich Crag. Not yet proved to have 
coexisted with man. 

* For fig. 20, I am indebted to 
M.Lartet^ and fig. 18 will be found in 
his paper in Bulletin de laSociete Geo- 

logique de France, Mars 1859. Fig. 19 
is from Fauna Sivalensis, Falconer 
and Cautley. 


especially as many tusks of a hippopotamus have been ob 
tained from the gravel of St. Roch some of these recently by 
Mr. Prestwich ; while M. Gamier of Amiens has procured a 
fine elephant's molar from the same pits, which Dr. Falconer 
refers to Mephas antiquus, see fig. 19, p. 133. Hence I 
infer that both these animals co-existed with man. 

The alluvial formations of Montiers are very instructive in 
another point of view. If, leaving the lower gravel of that 
place, which is topped with loam or brick-earth (of which 
the upper portion is about thirty feet above the level of the 
Somme), we ascend the chalky slope to the height of about 
eighty feet, another deposit of gravel and sand, with fluviatile 
shells in a perfect condition, occurs, indicating most clearly 
an ancient river-bed, the waters of which^ran habitually at 
that higher level before the valley had been scooped out to 
its present depth. This superior deposit is on the same side 
of the Somme, and about as high, as the lowest part of the 
celebrated formation of St. Acheul, two or three miles distant, 
to which I shall now allude. 

The terrace of St. Acheul may be described as a gently 
sloping ledge of chalk, covered with gravel, topped as usual 
with loam or fine sediment, the surface of the loam being 
100 feet above the Somme, and about 150 above the sea. 

Many stone coffins of the Gallo-Roman period have been 
dug out of the upper portion of this alluvial mass. The 
trenches made for burying them sometimes penetrate to the 
depth of eight or nine feet from the surface, entering the 
upper part of No. 3 of the sections Nos. 21 and 21 A. They 
prove that when the Romans were in Gaul they found this 
terrace in the same condition as it is now, or rather as it 
was before the removal of so much gravel, sand, clay, and 
loam, for repairing roads, and for making bricks and pottery. 

In the annexed section, which I observed during my last visit 
in 1860, it will be seen that a fragment of an elephant's tooth 




is noticed as having been dug out of unstratified sandy loam 
at the point a, eleven feet from the surface. This was found 
at the time of my visit ; and at a lower point, at b, eighteen 

Fig. 21 

Section of a gravel pit containing flint implements at St. Acheul, near 
Amiens, observed in July 1860. 

1 Vegetable soil and made ground, two to three feet thick. 

2 Brown loam with some angular flints, in parts passing into ochreous 

gravel, filling up indentations on the surface of No. 3, three 
feet thick. 

3 White siliceous sand with layers of chalky marl, and included 

fragments of chalk, for the most part unstratified, nine feet. 

4 Flint-gravel, and whitish chalky sand, flints subangular, average 

size of fragments, three inches diameter, but with some large 
unbroken chalk flints intermixed, cross stratification in parts. 
Bones of mammalia, grinder of elephant at b, and flint implement 
at c, ten to fourteen feet. 

5 Chalk with flints. 

a Part of elephant's molar, eleven feet from the surface. 

b Entire molar of E. primigenius, seventeen feet from surface. 

c Position of flint hatchet, eighteen feet from surface. 

feet from the surface, a large nearly entire and unrolled mo 
lar of the same species was obtained, which is now in my pos 
session. It has been pronounced by Dr. Falconer to belong 
to Elephas primigenius. 


A stone hatchet of an oval form, like that represented at 
fig. 9, p. 115, was discovered at the same time, about one foot 
lower down, at c, in densely compressed gravel. The surface 
of the fundamental chalk is uneven in this pit, and slopes 
towards the .valley-plain of the Somme. In a horizontal 
distance of twenty feet, I found a difference in vertical height 
of seven feet. In the chalky sand, sometimes occurring in 
interstices between the separate fragments of flint, constituting 
the coarse gravel No. 4, entire as well as broken fresh-water 
shells are often met with. To some it may appear enigmatical 
how such fragile objects could have escaped annihilation in a 
river-bed, when flint tools and much gravel were shoved 
along the bottom ; but I have seen the dredging instrument 
employed in the Thames, above and below London Bridge, 
to deepen the river, and worked by steam power, scoop up 
gravel and sand from the bottom, and then pour the contents 
pell-mell into the boat, and still many specimens of Limnea, 
Planorbis, Paludina, Cyclas, and other shells might be taken 
out uninjured from the gravel. 

It will be observed that the gravel No. 4 is obliquely stra 
tified, and that its surface had undergone denudation before the 
white sandy loam, No. 3, was superimposed. The materials 
of the gravel at d must have been cemented or frozen together 
into a somewhat coherent mass to allow the projecting ridge, 
dy to stand up five feet above the general surface, the 
sides being in some places perpendicular. In No. 3 we 
probably behold an example of a passage from river-silt to 
inundation mud, or loess. In some parts of it, land shells 

It has been ascertained by MM. Buteux, Ravin, and other 
observers conversant with the geology of this part of France, 
that in none of the alluvial deposits, ancient or modern, are 
there any fragments of rocks foreign to the basin of the 
Somme no erratics which could only be explained by sup- 


posing them to have been brought by ice, during a general 
submergence of the country, from some other hydrographical 

But in some of the pits at St. Acheul there are seen in 
the beds No. 4, fig. 21, not only well-rounded tertiary pebbles, 
but great blocks of hard sandstone, of the kind called in the 
south of England ( greyweathers,' some of which are three 
or four feet and upwards in diameter. They are usually 
angular, and when spherical owe their shape generally to 
an original concretionary structure, and not to trituration 
in a river's bed. These large fragments of stone abound 
both in the higher and lower level gravels round Amiens and 
at the higher level at Abbeville. They have also been 
traced far up the valley above Amiens, wherever patches of 
the old alluvium occur. They have all been derived from 
the tertiary strata which once covered the chalk. Their 
dimensions are such that it is impossible to imagine a 
river like the present Somme, flowing through a flat 
country, with a gentle fall towards the sea, to have carried 
them for miles down its channel, unless ice cooperated 
as a transporting power. Their angularity also favours the 
supposition of their having been floated by ice, or rendered 
so buoyant by it as to have escaped much of the wear and 
tear which blocks propelled along the bottom of a river 
channel would otherwise suffer. We must remember that the 
present mildness of the winters in Picardy and the north-west 
of Europe generally is exceptional in the northern hemisphere, 
and that large fragments of granite, sandstone, and limestone 
are now carried annually by ice down the Canadian rivers in 
latitudes farther south than Paris. * 

Another sign of ice agency observed by me in many pits at 
St. Acheul, and of which Mr. Prestwich has given a good 

* Principles of Geology, 9th ed. p. 220. 




illustration in one of his published sections, deserves notice. 
It consists in flexures and contortions of the strata of sand, 

Fig. 21 A 

Contorted fluviatile strata at St. Acheul (Prestwich, Phil. Trans. 1861, p. 299). 

1 Surface soil. 

2 Brown loam as in fig. 21, p. 135, thickness, six feet. 

3 "White sand with bent and folded layers of marl thickness, six feet. 

4 Gravel, as in fig. 21, p. 135 with bones of mammalia and flint im 


A Graves filled with made ground and human bones. 

b and c Seams of laminated marl often bent round upon themselves. 

d Beds of gravel with sharp curves. 

marl, and gravel (as seen at b, c and d, fig. 21 A), which 
they have evidently undergone since their original deposition, 
and from which both the underlying chalk and part of the 
overlying beds of sand No. 3 are usually exempt. 

In my former writings I have attributed this kind of 
derangement to two causes ; first, the pressure of ice running 
aground on yielding banks of mud and sand ; and, secondly, 
the melting of masses of ice and snow of unequal thickness, 
on which horizontal layers of mud, sand, and other fine and 
coarse materials had accumulated. The late Mr. Trimmer 
first pointed out in what manner the unequal failure of sup 
port caused by the liquefaction of underlying or intercalated 
snow and ice might give rise to such complicated foldings.* 

* See Chapter XII. 


When 6 ice-jams' occur on the St. Lawrence and other 
Canadian rivers (lat. 46 N.), the sheets of ice, which become 
packed or forced under or over one another, assume in most 
cases a highly inclined and sometimes even a vertical position. 
They are often observed to be coated on one side with mud, 
sand, or gravel frozen on to them, derived from shallows in 
the river on which they rested when congelation first reached 
the bottom. 

As often as portions of these packs melt near the margin 
of the river, the layers of mud, sand, and gravel, which result 
from their liquefaction, cannot fail to assume a very abnormal 
arrangement, very perplexing to a geologist who should 
undertake to interpret them without having the ice-clue in 
his mind. 

Mr. Prestwich has suggested that ground-ice may have had 
its influence in modifying the ancient alluvium of the 
Somme.* It is certain that ice in this form plays an active 
part every winter in giving motion to stones and gravel in 
the beds of rivers in European Russia and Siberia. It appears 
that when in those countries the streams are reduced nearly to 
tne freezing point, congelation begins frequently at the 
bottom ; the reason being, according to Arago, that the current 
is slowest there, and the gravel and large stones, having paxted 
with much of their heat by radiation, acquire a temperature 
below the average of the main body of the river. It is, 
therefore, when the water is clear, and the sky free from 
clouds, that ground ice forms most readily, and oftener on 
pebbly than on muddy bottoms. Fragments of such ice, 
rising occasionally to the surface, bring up with them gravel, 
and even large stones. 

Without dwelling longer on the various ways in which ice 
may affect the forms of stratification in drift, so as to 
cause bendings and foldings in which the underlying or over- 
* Prestwich, Memoir read to Royal Society, April 1862. 


lying strata do not participate, a subject to which I shall have 
occasion again to allude in the sequel, I will state in this 
place that such contortions, whether explicable or not, are 
very characteristic of glacial formations. They have also no 
necessary connection with the transportation of large blocks 
of stone, and they therefore afford, as Mr. Prestwich remarks, 
independent proof of ice-action in the post-pliocene gravel of 
the Somme. 

Let us, then, suppose that, at the time when flint hatchets 
were embedded in great numbers in the ancient gravel which 
now forms the terrace of St. Acheul, the main river and its 
tributaries were annually frozen over for several months in 
winter. In that case, the primitive people may, as Mr. 
Prestwich hints, have resembled in their mode of life those 
American Indians who now inhabit the country between 
Hudson's Bay and the Polar Sea. The habits of those Indians 
have been well described by Hearne, who spent some years 
among them. As often as deer and other game become 
scarce on the land, they betake themselves to fishing in the 
rivers ; and for this purpose, and also to obtain water for 
drinking, they are in the constant practice of cutting round 
holes in the ice, a foot or more in diameter, through which 
they throw baited hooks or nets. Often they pitch their tent 
on the ice, and then cut such holes through it, using ice- 
chisels of metal when they can get copper or iron, but when 
not, employing tools of flint or hornstone. 

The great accumulation of gravel at St. Acheul has taken 
place in part of the valley where the tributary streams, 
the Noye and the Arve, now join the Somme. These tribu 
taries,, as well as the main river, must have been running at 
the height first of a hundred feet, and afterwards at various 
lower levels above the present valley-plain, in those earlier 
times when the flint tools of the antique type were buried 
in successive river beds. I have said at various levels, be- 


cause there are, here and there, patches of drift at heights 
intermediate between the higher and lower gravel, and also 
some deposits, showing that the river once flowed at elevations 
above as well as below the level of the platform of St. Aoheul. 
As yet, however, no patch of gravel skirting the valley at 
heights exceeding one hundred feet above the Somme have 
yielded flint tools or other signs of the former sojourn of 
man in this region. 

Possibly, in the earlier geographical condition of this 
country, the confluence of tributaries with the Somme afforded 
inducements to a hunting and fishing tribe to settle there, 
and some of the same natural advantages may have caused 
the first inhabitants of Amiens and Abbeville to fix on the 
same sites for their dwellings. If the early hunting and 
fishing tribes frequented the same spots for hundreds or 
thousands of years in succession, the number of the stone 
implements lost in the bed of the river need not surprise us. 
Ice-chisels, flint hatchets, and spear -heads may have slipped 
accidentally through holes kept constantly open, and the 
recovery of a lost treasure once sunk in the bed of the ice 
bound stream, inevitably swept away with gravel on the 
breaking up of the ice in the spring, would be hopeless. 
During a long winter, in a country affording abundance of 
flint, the manufacture of tools would be continually in pro 
gress ; and, if so, thousands of chips and flakes would be pur 
posely thrown into the ice-hole, besides a great number of 
implements having flaws, or rejected as too unskilfully made 
to be worth preserving. 

As to the fossil fauna of the drift, considered in relation to 
the climate, when I took a collection which I had made of all the 
more common species of land and freshwater shells from the 
Amiens and Abbeville drift, to my friend M. Deshayes at Paris, 
he declared them to be, without exception, the same as those 
now living in the basin of the Seine. This fact may seem at first 


sight to imply that the climate had not altered since the flint 
tools were fabricated ; but it appears that all these species of 
mollusks now range as far north as Norway and Finland, and 
may therefore have flourished in the valley of the Somme 
when the river was frozen over annually in winter. 

In regard to the accompanying mammalia, some of them, 
like the mammoth and tichorhine rhinoceros, may have 
been able to endure the rigours of a northern winter as well 
as the rein-deer, which we find fossil in the same gravel, it 
is a more difficult point to determine whether the climate of 
the lower gravels (those of Menchecourt, for example) was 
more genial than that of the higher ones. Mr. Prestwich 
inclines to this opinion. None of those contortions of the 
strata above described (p. 138) have as yet been observed in 
the lower drift. It contains large blocks of tertiary sandstone 
and grit, which may have required the aid of ice to convey 
them to their present sites; but as such blocks already 
abounded in the older and higher alluvium, they may simply 
be monuments of its destruction, having been let down suc 
cessively to lower and lower levels without making much 
seaward progress. 

The Cyrena fluminalis of Menchecourt and the hippo 
potamus of St. Eoch seem to be in favour of a less severe 
temperature in winter ; but so many of the species of 
mammalia, as well as of the land and fresh-water shells, are 
common to both formations, and our information respecting 
the entire fauna is still so imperfect, that it would be prema 
ture to pretend to settle this question in the present state of 
our knowledge. We must be content with the conclusion 
(and it is one of no small interest), that when man first 
inhabited this part of Europe, at the time that the St. Acheul 
drift was formed, the climate as well as the physical geography 
of the country differed considerably from the state of things 
now established there. 


Among the elephant remains from St. Acheul, in M 
Grarnier's collection, Dr. Falconer recognised a molar of the 
Elephas antiquus, fig. 19, the same species which has been 
already mentioned as having been found in the lower-level 
gravels of St. Koch. This species, therefore, endured while 
important changes took place in the geographical condition 
of the valley of the Somme. Assuming the lower-level 
gravel to be the newer, it follows that the Elephas antiquus 
and the hippopotamus of St. Eoch continued to flourish long 
after the introduction of the mammoth, a well characterized 
tooth of which, as I before stated, was found at St. Acheul at 
the time of my visit in 1860. 

As flint hatchets and knives have been discovered in the 
alluvial deposits both at high and low levels, we may safely 
affirm that man was as old an inhabitant of this region 
as were any of the fossil quadrupeds above enumerated, a 
conclusion which is independent of any difference of opinion 
as to the relative age of the higher and lower gravels. 

The disappearance of many large pachyderms and beasts of 
prey from Europe has often been attributed to the inter 
vention of man, and no doubt he played his part in hastening 
the era of their extinction ; but there is good reason for sus 
pecting that other causes cooperated to the same end. No 
naturalist would for a moment suppose that the extermination 
of the Cyrena fluminalis throughout the whole of Europe 
a species which coexisted with our race in the valley of the 
Somme, and which was very abundant in the waters of the 
Thames at the time when the elephant, rhinoceros, and 
hippopotamus flourished on its banks was accelerated by 
human agency. The same modification in climate and other 
conditions of existence which affected this aquatic mollusk, 
may have mainly contributed to the gradual dying out of 
many of the large mammalia. 

We have already seen that the peat of the valley of the 


Somme is a formation which, in all likelihood, took thousands 
of years for its growth. But no change of a marked character 
has occurred in the mammalian fauna since it began to ac 
cumulate. The contrast of the fauna of the ancient alluvium, 
whether at high or low levels, with the fauna of the oldest peat 
is almost as great as its contrast with the existing fauna, the 
memorials of man being common to the whole series ; hence 
we may infer that the interval of time which separated the 
era of the large extinct mammalia from that of the earliest 
peat, was of far longer duration than that of the entire growth 
of the peat. Yet we by no means need the evidence of the 
ancient fossil fauna to establish the antiquity of man in this 
part of France. The mere volume of the drift at various 
heights would alone suffice to demonstrate a vast lapse of 
time during which such heaps of shingle, derived both from 
the Eocene and the cretaceous rocks, were thrown down 
in a succession of river-channels. We observe thousands of 
rounded and half-rounded flints, and a vast number of angular 
ones, with rounded pieces of white chalk of various sizes, 
testifying to a prodigious amount of mechanical action, 
accompanying the repeated widening and deepening of the 
valley, before it became the receptacle of peat ; and the po 
sition of many of the flint tools leaves no doubt on the mind 
of the geologist that their fabrication preceded all this 
reiterated denudation. 

On the Absence of Human Bones in the Alluvium of 
the Somme. 

It is naturally a matter of no small surprise that, after we 
have collected many hundred flint implements (including 
knives, many thousands), not a single human bone has yet 
been met with in the alluvial sand and gravel of the Somme. 
This dearth of the mortal remains of our species holds true 


equally, as yet, in all other parts of Europe where the tool- 
bearing drift of the post-pliocene period has been investigated 
in valley deposits. Yet in these same formations there is no 
want of bones of mammalia belonging to extinct and living 
species. In the course of the last quarter of a century, 
thousands of them have been submitted to the examination 
of skilful osteologists, and they have been unable to detect 
among them one fragment of a human skeleton, not even a 
tooth. Yet Cuvier pointed out long ago, that the bones of 
man found buried in ancient battle-fields were not more de 
cayed than those of horses interred in the same graves. We 
have seen that in the Liege caverns, the skulls, jaws, and teeth, 
with other bones of the human race, were preserved in the 
same condition as those of the cave-bear, tiger, and mammoth. 

That ere long, now that curiosity has been so much excited 
on this subject, some human remains will be detected in the 
older alluvium of European valleys, I confidently expect. In 
the mean time, the absence of all vestige of the bones which 
belonged to that population by which so many weapons were 
designed and executed, affords a most striking and instructive 
lesson in regard to the value of negative evidence, when 
adduced in proof of the non-existence of certain classes of 
terrestrial animals at given periods of the past. It is a new 
and emphatic illustration of the extreme imperfection of 
the geological record, of which even they who are constantly 
working in the field cannot easily form a just conception. 

We must not forget that Dr. Schmerling, after finding 
extinct mammalia and flint tools in forty-two Belgian 
caverns, was only rewarded by the discovery of human bones 
in three or four of those rich repositories of osseous remains. 
In like manner, it was not till the year 1855 that the first 
skull of the musk buffalo (Bubalus moschatus) was detected 
in the fossiliferous gravel of the Thames, and not till 1860, 
as will be seen in the next chapter, that the same quadruped 



was proved to have co-existed in France with the mammoth. 
The same theory which will explain the comparative rarity 
of such species would no doubt account for the still greater 
scarcity of human bones, as well as for our general ignorance 
of the post-pliocene terrestrial fauna, with the exception of 
that part of it which is revealed to us by cavern researches. 

In valley drift we meet commonly with the bones of quad 
rupeds which graze on plains bordering rivers. Carnivorous 
beasts, attracted to the same ground in search of their prey, 
sometimes leave their remains in the same deposits, but more 
rarely. The whole assemblage of fossil quadrupeds at present 
obtained from the alluvium of Picardy is obviously a mere 
fraction of the entire fauna which flourished contemporane 
ously with the primitive people by whom the flint hatchets 
were made. 

Instead of its being part of the plan of nature to store up 
enduring records of a large number of the individual plants and 
animals which have lived on the surface, it seems to be her 
chief care to provide the means of disencumbering the habit 
able areas lying above and below the waters of those myriads 
of solid skeletons of animals, and those massive trunks of 
trees, which would otherwise soon choke up every river, and 
fill every valley. To prevent this inconvenience she employs 
the heat and moisture of the sun and atmosphere, the dissolv 
ing power of carbonic and other acids, the grinding teeth and 
gastric juices of quadrupeds, birds, reptiles, and fish, and the 
agency of many of the invertebrata. We are all familiar with 
the efficacy of these and other causes on the land ; and as to the 
bottoms of seas, we have only to read the published reports of 
Mr. MacAndrew, the late Edward Forbes, and other experi 
enced dredgers, who, while they failed utterly in drawing 
up from the deep a single human bone, declared that they 
scarcely ever met with a work of art even after counting tens 
of thousands of shells and zoophytes, collected on a coast line 


of several hundred miles in extent, where they often ap 
proached within less than half a mile of a land peopled by 
millions of human beings. 

Lake of Haarlem. 

It is not many years since the Government of Holland re 
solved to lay dry that great sheet of water formerly called the 
Lake of Haarlem, extending over 45,000 square acres. They 
succeeded, in 1853, in turning it into dry land, by means 
of powerful pumps constantly worked by steam, which raised 
the water and discharged it into a canal running for twenty 
or thirty miles round the newly-gained land. This land was 
depressed thirteen feet beneath the mean level of the ocean. 
I travelled, in 1859, over part of the bed of this old lake, 
and found it already converted into arable land, and peopled 
by an agricultural population of 5000 souls. Mr. Staring, 
who had been for some years employed by the Dutch Grovern- 
ment in constructing a geological map of Holland, was my 
companion and guide. He informed me that he and his 
associates had searched in vain for human bones in the de 
posits which had constituted for three centuries the bed of 
the great lake. 

There had been many a shipwreck, and many a naval fight 
in those waters, and hundreds of Dutch and Spanish soldiers 
and sailors had met there with a watery grave. The popula 
tion which lived on the borders of this ancient sheet of water 
numbered between thirty and forty thousand souls. In dig 
ging the great canal, a fine section had been laid open, about 
thirty miles long, of the deposits which formed the ancient 
bottom of the lake. Trenches, also, innumerable, several feet 
deep, had been freshly dug on all the farms, and their united 
length must have amounted to thousands of miles. In some 
of the sandy soil recently thrown out of the trenches, I observed 

L 2 


specimens of fresh-water and brackish -water shells, such as 
Unio and Dreissena, of living species ; and in clay brought up 
from below the sand, shells of Tellina, Lutraria, and Cardium, 
all of species now inhabiting the adjoining sea. 

One or two wrecked Spanish vessels, and arms of the same 
period, have rewarded the antiquaries who had been watching 
the draining operations in the hope of a richer harvest, and 
who were not a little disappointed at the result. In a peaty 
tract on the margin of one part of the lake a few coins were 
dug up ; but if history had been silent, and if there had been 
a controversy whether man was already a denizen of this 
planet at the time when the area of the Haarlem lake was 
under water, the archaeologist, in order to answer this ques 
tion, must have appealed, as in the case of the valley of the 
Somme, not to fossil bones, but to works of art embedded in 
the superficial strata. 

Mr. Staring, in his valuable memoir on the ( Geological Map 
of Holland,' has attributed the general scarcity of human 
bones in Dutch peat, notwithstanding the many works of art 
preserved in it, to the power of the humic and sulphuric 
acids to dissolve bones, the peat in question being plenti 
fully impregnated with such acids. His theory may be cor 
rect, but it is not applicable to the gravel of the Valley of 
the Somme, in which the bones of fossil mammalia are fre 
quent, nor to the uppermost fresh-water strata forming the 
bottom of a large part of the Haarlem Lake, in which it is 
not pretended that such acids occur. 

The primitive inhabitants of the Valley of the Somme 
may have been too wary and sagacious to be often surprised 
and drowned by floods, which swept away many an incautious 
elephant or rhinoceros, horse and ox. But even if those rude 
hunters had cherished a superstitious veneration for the 
Somme, and had regarded it as a sacred river (as the modern 
Hindoos revere the Granges), and had been in the habit of 


committing the bodies of their dead or dying to its waters 
even had such funeral rites prevailed, it by no means fpllows 
that the bones of many individuals would have been preserved 
to our time. 

A corpse cast into the stream first sinks, and must then be 
almost immediately overspread with sediment of a certain 
weight, or it will rise again when distended with gases, and 
float perhaps to the sea before it sinks again. It may then 
be attacked by fish of marine species, some of which are 
capable of digesting bones. If, before being carried into the 
sea and devoured, it is enveloped with fluviatile mud and 
sand, the next flood, if it lie in mid channel, may tear it out 
again, scatter all the bones, roll some of them into pebbles, 
and leave others exposed to destroying agencies ; and this may 
be repeated annually, till all vestiges of the skeleton may 
disappear. On the other hand, a bone washed through a rent 
into a subterranean cavity, even though a rarer contingency, 
may have a greater chance of escaping destruction, especially 
if there be stalactite dropping from the roof of the cave or 
walls of a rent, and if the cave be not constantly traversed 
by too strong a current of engulfed water. 











Flint Implements in Post-pliocene Alluvium in the Basin 
of the Seine. 

IN the ancient alluvium of the valleys of the Seine and its 
principal tributaries, the same assemblage of fossil animals, 
which has been alluded to in the last chapter as character 
ising the gravel of Picardy, has long been known ; but it was 
not till the year 1860, and when diligent search had been 
expressly made for them, that flint implements of the Amiens 
type were discovered in this part of France. 

In the neighbourhood of Paris, deposits of drift occur 
answering both to those of the higher and lower levels of the 
basin of the Somme before described.* In both are found, 
mingled with the wreck of the tertiary and cretaceous rocks 
of the vicinity, a large quantity of granitic sand, and pebbles, 
and occasionally large blocks of granite, from a few inches 

* Prestwich, Proceedings of Boy. Soc. 1862. 


to a foot or more in diameter. These blocks are peculiarly 
abundant in the lower drift commonly called the ' diluvium 
The granitic materials are traceable to a chain of hills 
called the Morvan, where the head waters of the Yonne take 
their rise, 150 miles to the SSE. of Paris. 

It was in this lowest gravel that M. H. T. Grosse, of Geneva, 
found, in April 1860, in the suburbs of Paris, at La Motte 
Piquet, on the left bank of the Seine, one or two well- 
formed flint implements of the Amiens type, accompanied 
by a great number of ruder tools or attempts at tools. I 
visited the spot in 1861 with M. Hebert, and saw the stratum 
from which the worked flints had been extracted, twenty feet 
below the surface, and near the bottom of the 'grey dilu 
vium,' a bed of gravel from which I have myself, in and 
near Paris, frequently collected the bones of the elephant, 
horse, and other mammalia. 

More recently, M. Lartet has discovered at Clichy, in the 
environs of Paris, in the same lower gravel, a well-shaped 
flint implement of the Amiens type, together with remains 
both of Elephas primigenius and E. antiquus. No tools 
have yet been met with in any of the gravel occurring at the 
higher levels of the valley of the Seine ; but no importance 
can be attached to this negative fact, as so little search has 
yet been made for them. 

Mr. Prestwich has observed contortions indicative of ice- 
action, of the same kind as those near Amiens (see p. 138), 
in the higher level drift at Charonne, near Paris ; but as yet 
no similar derangement has been seen in the lower gravels a 
fact, so far as it goes, in unison with the phenomena observed 
in Picardy. 

In the cavern of Arcy-sur- Yonne a series of deposits have 
lately been investigated by the Marquis de Vibraye, who 
discovered human bones in the lowest of them, mixed with 
remains of quadrupeds of extinct and recent species. This 


cavern occurs in Jurassic limestone, at a slight elevation 
above the Cure, a small tributary of the Yonne, which last 
joins the Seine near Fontainebleau, about forty miles south 
of Paris. The lowest formation in the cavern resembles the 
( diluvium gris ' of Paris, being composed of granitic ma 
terials, and like it derived chiefly from the waste of the 
crystalline rocks of the Morvan. In it have been found the 
two branches of a human lower jaw with teeth well-pre 
served, and the bones of the Elephas prim.igenius, Rhinoceros 
tichorhinus, Ursus spelceus, Hycena spelcea, and Cervus 
Tarandus, all specifically determined by M. Lartet. I have 
been shown this collection of fossils by M. de Vibraye, and 
remarked that the human and other remains were in the 
same condition and of the same colour. 

Above the grey gravel is a bed of red alluvium, made up 
of fragments of Jura limestone, in a red argillaceous matrix, 
in which were embedded several flint knives, with bones of 
the reindeer and horse, but no extinct mammalia. Over 
this, in a higher bed of alluvium, were several polished 
hatchets of the more modern type called f celts,' and above all 
loam or cave-mud, in which were Grallo-Eoman antiquities.* 

The French geologists have made as yet too little progress 
in identifying the age of the successive deposits of ancient 
alluvium of various parts of the basin of the Seine, to enable 
us to speculate with confidence as to the coincidence in date 
of the granitic gravel with human bones of the Grrotte d'Arcy 
and the stone- hatchets buried in ' grey diluvium ' of La Motte 
Piquet, before mentioned ; but as the associated extinct mam 
malia are of the same species in both localities, I feel strongly 
inclined to believe that the stone hatchets found by M. Grosse 
at Paris, and the human bones discovered by M. de Vibraye, 
may be referable to the same period. 

* Bulletin de la Societe Greologique de France, 1860. 


Valley of the Oise. 

A flint hatchet, of the old Abbeville and Amiens type, was 
found lately by M. Peigne Delacourt at Precy near Criel, on 
the Oise, in gravel, resembling, in its geological position, the 
lower-level gravels of Montiers near Arniens, already de 
scribed. I visited these extensive gravel-pits in 1861, in 
company with Mr. Prestwich; but we remained there too 
short a time to entitle us to expect to find a flint implement, 
even if they had been as abundant as at St. Acheul. 

In 1859, I examined, in a higher part of the same valley 
of the Oise, near Chauny and Noyon, some fine railway 
cuttings, which passed continuously through alluvium of the 
post-pliocene period for half a mile. All this alluvium was 
evidently of fluviatile origin, for, in the interstices between 
the pebbles, the Ancylus fluviatilis and other freshwater 
shells were abundant. My companion, the Abbe E. Lam 
bert, had collected from the gravel a great many fossil bones, 
among which M. Lartet has recognised both Elephas primi- 
genius and E. antiquus, besides a species of hippopotamus 
(H. major ?), also the rein-deer, horse, a.nd the musk buffalo 
(Bubalus moschatus). The latter seems never to have been 
seen before in the old alluvium of France.* Over the 
gravel above mentioned, near Chauny, are seen dense masses 
of loam like the loess of the Rhine, containing shells of the 
genera Helix and Succinea. We may suppose that the gravel 
containing the flint hatchet at Precy is of the same age as 
that of Chauny, with which it is continuous, and that both of 
them are coeval with the tool-bearing beds of Amiens, for the 
basins of the Oise and the Somme are only separated by a 
narrow water-shed, and the same fossil quadrupeds occur in 

* Lartet, Annales des Sciences Naturelles Zoologiques, torn. xv. p. 224. 


The alluvium of the Seine and its tributaries, like that of 
the Somme, contains no fragments of rocks brought from any 
other hydrographical basin; yet the shape of the land, or 
fall- of the river, or the climate, or all these conditions, must 
have been very different when the grey alluvium in which 
the flint tools occur at Paris was formed. The great size of 
some of the blocks of granite, and the distance which they 
have travelled, imply a power in the river which it no longer 
possesses. We can scarcely doubt that river-ice once played 
a much more active part than now in the transportation of 
such blocks, one of which may be seen in the Museum of the 
Ecole des Mines at Paris, three or four feet in diameter. 

Post-pliocene Alluvium of England, containing Works 

of Art. 

In the ancient alluvium of the basin of the Thames, at 
moderate heights above the main river, and its tributaries, 
we find fossil bones of the same species of extinct and living 
mammalia, accompanied by recent species, of land and fresh 
water shells, as we have shown to be characteristic of the 
basins of the Somme and the Seine. We can scarcely therefore 
doubt that these quadrupeds, during some part of the post- 
pliocene period, ranged freely from the continent of Europe 
to England, at a time when there was an uninterrupted 
communication by land between the two countries. The 
reader will not therefore be surprised to learn that flint 
implements of the same antique type as those of the valley 
of the Somme have been detected in British alluvium. 

The most marked feature of this alluvium in the Thames 
valley is that great bed of ochreous gravel, composed chiefly 
of broken and slightly worn chalk flints, on which a great 
part of London is built. It extends from above Maidenhead 
through the metropolis to the sea, a distance from west to east 


of fifty miles, having a width varying from two to nine miles. 
Its thickness ranges commonly from five to fifteen feet.* In- 
terstratified with this gravel, in many places, are beds of sand, 
loam, and clay, the whole containing occasionally remains of 
the mammoth and other extinct quadrupeds. Fine sections 
have been exposed to view, at different periods, at Brentford 
and Kew Bridge, others in London itself, and below it at 
Ilford and Erith in Kent, on the right bank, and at Gray's 
Thurrock in Essex, on the left bank. The united thickness 
of the beds of sand, gravel, and loam amounts sometimes to 
forty or even sixty feet. They are for the most part elevated 
above, but in some cases they descend below, the present level 
of the overflowed plain of the Thames. 

If the reader will refer to the section of the post-pliocene 
sands and gravels of Menchecourt, near Abbeville, given at 
p. 118, he will perfectly understand the relations of the ancient 
Thames alluvium to the modern channel and plain of the 
river, and their relation, on the other hand, to the boundary 
formations of older date, whether tertiary or cretaceous. 

So far as they are known, the fossil mollusca and mammalia 
of the two districts also agree very closely, the Cyrenaflumi- 
nalis being common to both, and being the only extra-Euro 
pean shell, this and all the species of testacea being recent. Of 
this agreement with the living fauna there is a fine illustra 
tion in Essex ; for the determination of which we are indebted 
to the late Mr. John Brown, F.Gr.S., who collected at Cop- 
ford, in Essex, from a deposit containing bones of the mam 
moth, a large bear (probably Ursus spelceus), a beaver, stag, 
and aurochs, no less than sixty-nine species of land and 
fresh-water shells. Forty-eight of these were terrestrial, and 
two of them, Helix incarnata and H. ruderata, no longer in 
habit the British Isles, but are still living on the continent, 

* Prestwich, Geological Quarterly Journal, vol. xii. p. 131. 


the first in high northern latitudes.* The Cyrena flumi- 
nalis and the Unio littoralis, to which last I shall presently 
allude, were not among the number. 

I long ago suggested the hypothesis, that in the basin of 
the Thames there are indications of a meeting in the post- 
pliocene period of a northern and southern fauna. To the 
northern group may have belonged the mammoth (Elepkas 
primigenius) and the Rhinoceros tichorhinus, both of which 
Pallas found in Siberia, preserved with their flesh in the ice. 
With these are occasionally associated the rein-deer. In 1855 
the skull of the musk-ox (Bubalus moschatus) was also found 
in the ochreous gravel of Maidenhead, by the Eev. C. Kingsley 
and Mr. Lubbock; the identification of this fossil with the 
living species being made by Professor Owen. A second fossil 
skull of the same arctic animal was afterwards found by 
Mr. Lubbock near Bromley, in the valley of a small tribu 
tary of the Thames; and two others were dug up at Bath 
Easton from the gravel of the valley of the Avon. Professor 
Owen has truly said, that, c as this quadruped has a constitu 
tion fitting it at present to inhabit the high northern regions 
of America, we can hardly doubt that its former companions, 
the warmly-clad mammoth and the two-horned woolly rhino 
ceros (R. tichorhinus), were in like manner capable of sup 
porting life in a cold climate.' f 

I have alluded at p. 144 to the recent discovery of this same 
buffalo near Chauny, in the valley of the Oise, in France ; and 
in 1856 I found a skull of it preserved in the museum at 
Berlin, which Professor Quenstedt, the curator, had correctly 
named so long ago as 1836, when the fossil was dug out 
of drift, in the hill called the Kreuzberg, in the southern 

* Quarterly Geological Journal, he merely meant extinct in England, 

vol. viii. p. 190, 1852. f Geological Quarterly Journal, 

Mr. Brown calls them extinct species, vol. xii. p. 124. 
which may mislead some readers, but 


suburbs of that city. By an account published at the time, 
we find that the mammalia which accompanied the musk 
buffalo were the mammoth and tichorhine rhinoceros, with the 
horse and ox ; * but I can find no record of the occurrence of 
a hippopotamus, nor of Elephas antiquus or Rhinoceros 
leptorhinus, in the drift of the north of Germany, bordering 
the Baltic. 

On the other hand, in another locality in the same drift of 
North Grermany, Dr. Hensel, of Berlin, detected, near Qued- 
linburg, the Norwegian Lemming (Myodes Lemmus), and 
another species of the same family called by Pallas Myodes tor- 
quatus (by Hensel, Misothermus torquatus) a still more arctic 
quadruped, found by Parry in latitude 82, and which never 
strays farther south than the northern borders of the woody 
region. Professor Beyrich also informs me that the remains of 
the Rhinoceros tichorhinus were obtained at the same place.f 

As an example of what may possibly have constituted a 
more southern fauna in the valley of the Thames, I may 
allude to the fossil remains found in the fluviatile alluvium 
of Grray's Thurrock, in Essex, situated on the left bank of the 
river, twenty-one miles below London. The strata of brick- 
earth, loam, and gravel exposed to view in artificial excava 
tions in that spot, are precisely such as would be formed by the 
silting up of an old river channel. Among the mammalia are 
Elephas antiquus, Rhinoceros leptorhinus (_R. megarhinus 
Christol), Hippopotamus major, species of horse, bear, ox, 
stag, &c., and, among the accompanying shells, Cyrenaflumi- 
nalis, which is extremely abundant, instead of being scarce, 
as at Abbeville. It is associated with Unio littoralis, fig. 22, 
also in great numbers, and with both valves united. This 
conspicuous fresh-water mussel is no longer an inhabitant of 

* Leonhard and Bronn's Jahrbuch, gischen Gesellschaft, vol. vii. 1855, 
1836, p. 215. p. 548, &c. 

f Zeitschrift der Deutschen Greolo- 


the British Isles, but still lives in the Seine, and is still more 
abundant in the Loire. Another fresh-water univalve (Palu- 
dina marginata Michaud), not British, but common in the 

Fig. 22 

Unio littoralis. Gray's Thurrock, Essex; extinct in British Isles, 
living in France. 

south of France, likewise occurs, and a peculiar variety of 
Gyclas amnica, which by some naturalists has been regarded 
as a distinct species. With these, moreover, is found a peculiar 
variety of Valvata piscinalis. 

If we consult Dr. Von Schrenck's account of the living 
mammalia of Amoorland, lying between lat. 45 and 55 North, 
we learn that, in that part of North -Eastern Asia recently 
annexed to the Russian empire, no less than thirty-four out 
of fifty-eight living quadrupeds are identical with European 
species, while some of those which do not extend their range 
to Europe are arctic, others tropical forms. The Bengal tiger 
ranges northwards occasionally to lat. 52 North, where he 
chiefly subsists on the flesh of the rein-deer, and the same 
tiger abounds in lat. 48, to which the small tail-less hare or 
pika, a polar resident, sometimes wanders southwards.* We 
may readily conceive that the countries now drained by the 
Thames, the Somme, and the Seine, were, in the post-pliocene 

* Mammalia of Amoorland, Natural History Keview, vol. i. p. 12, 1861. 


period, on the borders of two distinct zoological provinces, 
one lying to the north, the other to the south, in which case 
many species belonging to each fauna endowed with migra 
tory habits, like the living musk-buffalo or the Bengal tiger, 
may have been ready to take advantage of any, even the 
slightest, change in their favour to invade the neighbouring 
province, whether in the summer or winter months, or 
permanently for a series of years, or centuries. The Elephas 
antiquus and its associated Rhinoceros leptorhinus may 
have preceded the mammoth and tichorhine rhinoceros in the 
valley of the Thames, or both may have alternately prevailed 
in the same area in the post-pliocene period. 

In attempting to settle the chronology of fluviatile deposits, 
it is almost equally difficult to avail ourselves of the evidence 
of organic remains and of the superposition of the strata, 
for we may find two old river-beds on the same level in 
juxta-position, one of them perhaps many thousands of years 
posterior in date to the other. I have seen an example of 
this at Ilford, where the Thames, or a tributary stream, 
has at some former period cut through sands containing 
Cyrena fluminalis, and again filled up the channel with 
argillaceous matter, evidently derived from the waste of the 
tertiary London clay. Such shiftings of the site of the main 
channel of the river, the frequent removal of gravel and sand 
previously deposited, and the throwing down of new alluvium, 
the flooding of tributaries, the rising and sinking of the land, 
fluctuations in the cold and heat of the climate all these 
changes seem to have given rise to that complexity in the 
fluviatile deposits of the Thames, which accounts for the small 
progress we have hitherto made in determining their order of 
succession, and that of the imbedded groups of quadrupeds. 
It may happen, as at Brentford and Ilford, that sand-pits in 
two adjoining fields may each contain distinct species of 
elephant and rhinoceros ; and they may occur at the same 


depth from the surface, and yet be referable each to two sub 
divisions of the post-pliocene epoch, separated by thousands 
of years. 

The relation of the glacial period to alluvial deposits, such as 
that of Gray's Thurrock, where the Cyrena fluminalis, Unio 
littoralisy and the hippopotamus seem rather to imply a warmer 
climate, has been a matter of long and animated discussion. 
Patches of the northern drift, at elevations of about two 
hundred feet above the Thames, occur in the neighbourhood 
of London, as at Muswell Hill, near Highgate. In this drift, 
blocks of granite, syenite, greenstone, coal-measure sandstone 
with its fossils, and other paleozoic rocks, and the wreck of 
chalk and oolite, occur confusedly mixed together. The same 
glacial formation is also found capping some of the Essex hills 
farther to the east, and extending some way down their 
southern slopes towards the valley of the Thames. Although 
no fragments washed out of these older and upland drifts 
have been found in the gravel of the Thames containing 
elephants' bones, it is fair to presume that the glacial formation 
is the older of the two, for reasons given before at p. 130, 
and that it originated, as we shall see in a future chapter, when 
the greater part of England was submerged beneath the sea. 
In short, we must suppose that the basin of the Thames and 
all its fluviatile deposits are post-glacial, in the modified sense 
of that term ; i. e. that they were subsequent to the marine 
drift of the central and northern counties, and to the period 
of its emergence above the level of the sea. 

Having offered these general remarks on the alluvium of 
the Thames, I may now say something of the implements 
hitherto discovered in it. In the British Museum there is a 
flint weapon of the spear-headed form, such as is represented in 
fig. 8, p. 114, which we are told was found with an elephant's 
tooth at Black Mary's, near Gray's Inn Lane, London. In 
a letter dated 1715, printed in Herne's edition of 'Leland's 


Collectanea,' vol. i. p. 73, it is stated to have been found in the 
presence of Mr. Conyers, with the skeleton of an elephant.* 
So many bones of the elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus 
have been found in the gravel on which London stands, that 
there is no reason to doubt the statement as handed down to 
us. Fossil remains of all these three genera have been dug 
up on the site of Waterloo Place, St. James's Square, Charing 
Cross, the London Docks, Limehouse, Bethnal Green, and 
other places within the memory of persons now living. 
In the gravel and sand of Shacklewell, in the northern 
suburbs of London, I have myself collected specimens of 
the Cyrena fluminalis in great numbers, see fig. 17 c, p. 124, 
with the bones of deer and other mammalia. 

In the alluvium also of the Wey, near Gruildford, in a 
place called Pease Marsh, a wedge-shaped flint implement, 
resembling one brought from St. Acheul, by Mr. Prestwich, 
and compared by some antiquaries to a sling-stone, was ob 
tained in 1836 by Mr. Whitburn, four feet deep in sand and 
gravel, in which the teeth and tusks of elephants had been 
found. The Wey flows through the gorge of the North 
Downs at Gruildford to join the Thames. Mr. Austen has 
shown that this drift is so ancient that one part of it had been 
disturbed and tilted before another part was thrown down.f 

Among other places where flint tools of the antique type 
have been met with in the course of the last three years, I 
may mention one of an oval form found by Mr. Evans in 
the valley of the Darent, and another which the same observer 
found lying on the shore at Swalecliff, near Whitstable, in 
Kent, where Mr. Prestwich had previously described a fresh 
water deposit, resting on the London clay, and consisting 
chiefly of gravel, in which an elephant's tooth and the bones 
of a bear were embedded. The, flint implement was deeply 

* Evans, Archseologia, 1860. 

f Quarterly Geological Journal, 1851, vol. vii. p. 278. 



discoloured and of a peculiar bright light brown colour, similar 
to that of the old fluviatile gravel in the cliff. 

Another flint implement was found in 1860, by Mr. T. 
Leech, at the foot of the cliff between Herne Bay and the 
Eeculvers, and on further search five other specimens of the 
spear-head pattern so common at Amiens. Messrs. Prestwich 
and Evans have since found three other similar tools on the 
beach, at the base of the same wasting cliff, which consists of 
sandy Eocene strata. Upon these, at the top of the cliff, is a 
pebbly deposit of fresh-water origin, about fifty feet above 
the sea-level, from which the flint weapons must have been 
derived. Such old alluvial deposits now capping the cliffs of 
Kent seem to have been the river-beds of tributaries of the 
Thames before the sea encroached to its present position and 
widened its estuary. On following up one of these fresh-water 
deposits westward of the Eeculvers, Mr. Prestwich found in it, 
at Chislet, near Grove Ferry, the Cyrena fluminalis among 
other shells. 

The changes which have taken place in the physical geo 
graphy of this part of England during, or since, the post- 
pliocene period, have consisted partly of such encroachments 
of the sea on the coast as are now going on, and partly of a 
general subsidence of the land. Among the signs of the 
latter movement may be mentioned a fresh-water formation 
at Faversham, below the level of the sea. The gravel there 
contains exclusively land and fluviatile shells, of the same 
species as those of other localities of the post-pliocene allu 
vium before mentioned, and must have been formed when 
the river was at a higher level and when it extended farther 
east. At that era it was probably a tributary of the Ehine, 
as represented by Mr. Trimmer in his ideal restoration of the 
geography of the olden time.* For England was then united 
to the continent, and what is now the German Ocean was 

* Quarterly Geological Journal, vol. ix. pi. 13, No. 4. 


land. It is well known that in many places, especially near 
the coast of Holland, elephants' tusks and other bones are 
often dredged up from the bed of that shallow sea, and the 
reader will see in the map given in Chap. XIII. how vast would 
be the conversion of sea into land by an upheaval of 600 feet. 
Vertical movements of much less than half that amount would 
account for the annexation of England to the continent, and 
the extension of the Thames and its valley far to the north 
east, and the flowing of rivers from the easternmost parts of 
Kent and Essex into the Thames, instead of emptying them 
selves into its estuary. 

More than a dozen flint weapons of the Amiens type have 
already been found in the basin of the Thames; but the 
geological position of no one of them has as yet been ascer 
tained with the same accuracy as that of many of the tools 
dug up in the valley of the Somme, or some other British 
examples which will presently be mentioned. 

Flint Implements of the Valley of the Ouse, near Bedford. 

The ancient fluviatile gravel of the valley of the Ouse, 
around Bedford, has been noted for the last thirty years for 
yielding to collectors a rich harvest of the bones of extinct 
mammalia ; those of the elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopo 
tamus being amongst the number. Mr. James Wyatt, F.Gr.S., 
having returned in 1860 from France, where, in the gravel- 
pits of St. Acheul, near Amiens, he had marked the position 
of the flint tools, resolved to watch carefully the excavation of 
the gravel-pits at Biddenham, two miles WNW. of Bedford, 
in the hope of finding there similar works of art. With this 
view he paid almost daily visits for months in succession to 
those pits, and was at last rewarded by the discovery of two 
well-formed implements, one of the spear-head and the other 
of the oval shape, perfect counterparts of the two prevailing 


French types figured at pp. 114, 115. Both specimens were 
thrown out by the workmen on the same day from the lowest 
bed of stratified gravel and sand, thirteen feet thick, containing 
bones of the elephant, deer, and ox, and many fresh-water 
shells. The two implements occurred at the depth of thirteen 
feet from the surface of the soil, and rested immediately on 
solid beds of oolitic limestone, as represented in the accom 
panying section. 

Fig. 23 

Section across the Valley of the Ouse, two miles WNW. of Bedford. 

1 Oolitic strata. 

2 Boulder clay, or marine northern drift, rising to about ninety feet 

above the Ouse. 

3 Ancient gravel, with elephant bones, freshwater shells, and flint im 


4 Modern alluvium of the Ouse. 

a Biddenham gravel pits, at the bottom of which flint tools were 

I examined these pits, in 1861, in company with Messrs. 
Prestwich, Evans, and Wyatt, and we collected ten species of 
shells from the stratified drift No. 3, or the beds overlying 
the lowest gravel from which the flint implements had been 
exhumed. They were all of common fluviatile and land 
species now living in the same part of England. Since our 
visit, Mr. Wyatt has added to them Paludina marginata 
Michaud (Hydrobia of some authors, see p. 225 infra), species 
of the South of France no longer inhabiting the British Isles. 
The same geologist has also found, since we were at Bidden- 
, ham, several other flint tools of corresponding type, both there 
and at other localities in the Valley of the Ouse, near Bedford. 

The boulder clay, No. 2, extends for miles in all directions, 
and was evidently once continuous from b to c, before the 


valley was scooped out. It is a portion of the great marine 
glacial drift of the midland counties of England, and contains 
blocks, some of large size, not only of the oolite of the neigh 
bourhood, but of chalk and other rocks transported from still 
greater distances, such as syenite, basalt, quartz, and new red 
sandstone. These erratic blocks of foreign origin are often 
polished and striated, having undergone what is called 
glaciation, of which more will be said by and by. Blocks 
of the same mineral character, embedded at Biddenham 
in the gravel No. 3, have lost all signs of this striation by 
the friction to which they were subjected in the old river-bed. 
The great width of the valley of the Ouse, which is some 
times two miles, has not been expressed in the diagram. It 
may have been shaped out by the joint action of the river and 
the tides when this part of England was emerging from the 
waters of the glacial sea, the boulder clay being first cut 
through, and then an equal thickness of underlying oolite. 
After this denudation, which may have accompanied the 
emergence of the land, the country was inhabited by the 
primitive people who fashioned the flint tools. The 
old river, aided perhaps by the continued upheaval of the 
whole country, or by oscillations in its level, went on 
widening and deepening the valley, often shifting its channel, 
until at length a broad area was covered by a succession 
of the earliest and latest deposits, which may have cor 
responded in age to the higher and lower gravels of the valley 
of the Somme, already described, p. 130. Mr. Prestwich 
has hinted that perhaps the drift of Biddenham, which is 
thirty feet above the present level of the Ouse, and contains 
bones of Elephas primigenius, and the shells above alluded 
to, may be a higher level alluvium ; and the gravel on which, 
the town of Bedford is built, which is at an inferior level 
relatively to the Ouse, may be a lower deposit and con 
sequently newer. But we have scarcely as yet sufficient data 


to enable us to determine the relative age of these strata. In 
the Bedford gravel, last alluded to, some remains of Hippopo 
tamus major and Elephas antiquus have been discovered, 
and an assemblage of land and freshwater shells of recent 
species, but not precisely the same as those of Biddenham. 

One step at least we gain by the Bedford sections, which 
those of Amiens and Abbeville had not enabled us to make. 
They teach us that the fabricators of the antique tools, and 
the extinct mammalia coeval with them, were all post-glacial, 
or, in other words, posterior to the grand submergence of 
Central England beneath the waters of the glacial sea. 

Flint Implements in a Freshwater Deposit at Hoxne in 

So early as the first year of the present century, a re 
markable paper was communicated to the Society of An 
tiquaries by Mr. John Frere, in which he gave a clear 
description of the discovery at Hoxne, near Diss, in Suffolk, 
of flint tools of the type since found at Amiens, adding at the 
same time good geological reasons for presuming that their an 
tiquity was very great, or, as he expressed it, beyond that of 
the present world, meaning the actual state of the physical 
geography of that region. ( The flints,' he said, ' were 
evidently weapons of war, fabricated and used by a people 
who had not the use of metals. They lay in great numbers at 
the depth of about twelve feet in a stratified soil which was dug 
into for the purpose of raising clay for bricks. Under a foot 
and a half of vegetable earth was clay seven and a half feet 
thick, and beneath this one foot of sand with shells, and under 
, this two feet of gravel, in which the shaped flints were found 
generally at the rate of five or six in a square yard. In the 
sandy beds with shells were found the jaw bone and teeth of 
an enormous unknown animal. The manner in which the 


flint weapons lay would lead to the persuasion that it was a 
place of their manufacture, and not of their accidental de 
posit. Their numbers were so great that the man who carried 
on the brick- work told me that before he was aware of their 
being objects of curiosity, he had emptied baskets full of them 
into the ruts of the adjoining road.' 

Mr. Frere then goes on to explain that the strata in which 
the flints occur are disposed horizontally, and do not lie at the 
foot of any higher ground, so that portions of them must have 
been removed when the adjoining valley was hollowed out. 
If the author had not mistaken the freshwater shells associated 
with the tools for marine species, there would have been 
nothing to correct in his account of the geology of the dis 
trict, for he distinctly perceived that the strata in which the 
implements were embedded had, since that time, undergone 
very extensive denudation.* Specimens of the flint spear 
heads, sent to London by Mr. Frere, are still preserved in the 
British Museum, and others are in the collection of the Society 
of Antiquaries. 

Mr. Prestwich's attention was called by Mr. Evans to those 
weapons, as well as to Mr. Frere's memoir after his return 
from Amiens in 1859, and he lost no time in visiting Hoxne, 
a village five miles eastward of Diss. It is not a little re 
markable that he should have found, after a lapse of sixty 
years, that the extraction of clay was still going on in the 
same brick-pit. Only a few months before his arrival, two 
flint instruments had been dug out of the clay, one from a 
depth of seven and the other of ten feet from the surface. 
Others have since been disinterred from undisturbed beds of 
gravel in the same pit. Mr. Amyot, of Diss, has also obtained 
from the underlying freshwater strata the astragalus of an 
elephant, and bones of the deer and horse ; but although 
many of the old implements have recently been discovered 
* Frere, Archseologia for 1800, vol. xiii. p. 206. 


in situ in regular strata and preserved by Sir Edward Kerrison, 
no bones of extinct mammalia seem as yet to have been 
actually seen in the same stratum with one of the tools. 

By reference to the annexed section, the geologist will see 
that the basin-shaped hollow a, b, c, has been filled up gradually 
with the fresh- water strata 3, 4, 5, after the same cavity a, 6, c, 
had been previously excavated out of the more ancient boulder 
clay, No. 6. The relative position of these formations will be 
better understood when I have described in the Twelfth 

Fig. 24 


Sea, Level 9 Chalk 

Section showing the position of the flint weapons at Hoxne, near Diss, Suffolk. 
See Prestwich, Philosophical Transactions, PI. 11. 1860. 

1 Gravel of Gold Brook, a tributary of the "Waveny. 

2 Higher-level gravel overlying the freshwater deposit. 

3 and 4. Sand and gravel, with freshwater shells, and flint imple 

ments, and bones of mammalia. 

5 Peaty and clayey beds, with same fossils. 

6 Boulder clay or glacial drift. 

7 Sand and gravel below boulder clay. 

8 Chalk with flints. 

Chapter the structure of Norfolk and Suffolk as laid open in 
the sea-cliffs at Mundesley, about thirty miles distant from 
Hoxne, in a North North-east direction. 

I examined the deposits at Hoxne in 1860, when I had 
the advantage of being accompanied by the Rev. J. GKmn, and 
the Rev. S. W. King. In the loamy beds 3 and 4, fig. 24, 
we observed the common river shell Valvata piscinalis in 
great numbers. With it, but much more rare, were Limnea 
palustris, Planorbis albus, P. spirorbis, Succinea putris, 
Bithynia tentaculata, Cyclas cornea; and Mr. Prestwich 
mentions Cyclas amnica and fragments of a Unio, besides 


several land shells. In the black peaty mass No. 5, fragments 
of wood of the oak, yew, and fir have been recognised. The 
flint weapons which I have seen from Hoxne are so much 
more perfect, and have their cutting edge so much sharper 
than those from the Valley of the Somme, that they seem 
neither to have been used by man, nor to have been rolled in 
the bed of a river. The opinion of Mr. Frere, therefore, that 
there may have been a manufactory of weapons on the spot, 
appears probable. 

Flint Implements at Icklingham in Suffolk. 

In another part of Suffolk, at Icklingham, in the Valley of 
the Lark, below Bury St. Edmund's, there is a bed of gravel, 
in which two flints of a lance-head form have been found 
at the depth of four feet from the surface. I have visited 
the spot, which has been correctly described by Mr. Prestwich.* 

The section of the Bedford tool-bearing alluvium, given at 
p. 155, may serve to illustrate that of Icklingham, if we sub 
stitute chalk for oolite, and the river Lark for the Ouse. In 
both cases, the present bed of the river is about thirty feet 
below the level of the old gravel, and the chalk hill, which 
bounds the Valley of the Lark on the right side, is capped 
like the oolite of Biddenham by boulder clay, which rises to 
the height of one hundred feet above the Lark. About 
twelve years ago, a large erratic block, above four feet in 
diameter, was dug out of the boulder clay at Icklingham, 
which I found to consist of a hard siliceous schist, apparently 
a Silurian rock, which must have come from a remote region. 
The tool-bearing gravel here, as in the case to which it has 
been compared near Bedford, is proved to be newer than the 
glacial drift, by containing pebbles of basalt and other rocks 
derived from that formation. 

* Quarterly Geological Journal, 1861, vol. xvii. p. 364. 













Works of Art associated with extinct Mammalia in a 
Cavern in Somersetshire. 

THE only British cave from which implements resembling 
those of Amiens have been obtained, since the attention 
of geologists has been awakened to the importance of minutely 
observing the position of such relics relatively to the asso 
ciated fossil mammalia, is that recently opened near Wells in 
Somersetshire. It occurs near the cave of Wokey Hole, from 
the mouth of which the river Axe issues on the southern 
flanks of the Mendips. No one had suspected that on the left 
side of the ravine, through which the river flows after escaping 
from its subterranean channel, there were other caves and 
fissures concealed beneath the green sward of the steep 
sloping bank. About ten years ago, a canal was made, 
several hundred yards in length, for the purpose of leading 
the waters of the Axe to a paper-mill, now occupying the 
middle of the ravine. In carrying out this work, about 
twelve feet of the left bank was cut away, and a cavernous 


fissure, choked up to the roof with ossiferous loam, was then, 
for the first time, exposed to view. This great cavity, origi 
nally nine feet high and thirty-six wide, traversed the 
dolomitic conglomerate ; and fragments of that rock, some 
angular and others water-worn, were scattered through the 
red mud of the cave, in which fossil remains were abundant. 
For an account of them and the position they occupied we 
are indebted to Mr. Dawkins, F.Gr.S., who, in company with 
Mr. Williamson, explored the cavern in 1859, and obtained 
from it the bones of the Hycena spelcea in such numbers as to 
lead him to conclude that the cavern had for a long time been 
a hyaena's den. Among the accompanying animals found fossil 
in the same bone-earth, were observed Elephas primigenius, 
Rhinoceros tichorhinus, Ursus spelceus, Bos primigenius, 
Megaceros hybernicus, Cervus Tarandus (and other species 
of Cervus), Ursus spelceus., Felis spelcea, Canis Lupus, Canis 
Vulpes, and teeth and bones of the genus Equus in great 

Intermixed with the above fossil bones were some arrow 
heads, made of bone, and many chipped flints, and chipped 
pieces of chert, a white or bleached flint weapon of the 
spear-head Amiens type, which was taken out of the undis 
turbed matrix by Mr. Williamson himself, together with a 
hyaena's tooth, showing that man had either been contempo 
raneous with or had preceded the extinct fauna. After 
penetrating thirty-four feet from the entrance, Mr. Dawkins 
found the cave bifurcating into two branches, one of which 
was vertical. By this rent, perhaps, some part of the contents 
of the cave may have been introduced.* 

When I examined the spot in 1860, after I had been shown 
some remains of the hyaena collected there, I felt convinced 
that a complete revolution must have taken place in the 

* W. B. Dawkins, F.G.S., Geological Society's Proceedings, January 1862. 


topography of the district since the time of the extinct 
quadrupeds. I was not aware at the time that flint tools 
had been met with in the same bone-deposit. 

Caves of Gower in Glamorganshire, South Wales. 

The ossiferous caves of the peninsula of Grower in Gla 
morganshire have been diligently explored of late years by 
Dr. Falconer and Lieutenant-Colonel E. K. Wood, the latter 
of whom has discovered and thoroughly investigated the con 
tents of many which were previously unknown. Among 
their contents have been found the remains of almost every 
quadruped elsewhere found fossil in British caves : in some 
places the JElephas primigenius, accompanied by its usual 
companion the Rhinoceros tichorhinus, in others Elephas 
antiquus associated with Rhinoceros hemitoschus Falconer ; 
the extinct animals being often embedded, as in the Belgian 
caves, in the same matrix with species now living in Europe, 
such as the common badger (Melee taxus), the common wolf, 
and the fox. 

In a cavernous fissure called the Raven's cliff, teeth of 
several individuals of Hippopotamus major, both young and 
old, were found ; and this in a district where there is now 
scarce a rill of running water, much less a river in which such 
quadrupeds could swim. In one of the caves, called Spritsail 
Tor, both of the elephants above named were observed, 
with a great many other quadrupeds of recent and extinct 

From one fissure, called Bosco's Den, no less than one thou 
sand antlers of the rein-deer, chiefly of the variety called 
Cervus Guettardi, were extracted by the persevering ex 
ertions of Colonel Wood, who estimated that several hundred 
more still remained in the bone-earth of the same rent. 

They were mostly shed horns, and of young animals ; and 


had been washed into the rent with other bones, and with 
angular fragments of limestone, and all enveloped in the same 
ochreous rnud. Among the other bones, which were not 
numerous, were those of the cave-bear, wolf, fox, ox, stag, 
and field-mouse. 

But the discovery of most importance, as bearing on the 
subject of the present work, is the occurrence in a newly- 
discovered cave, called Long Hole, by Colonel Wood, in 1861, 
of the remains of two species of rhinoceros, R. tichorhinus and 
R. hemitoechus Falconer, in an undisturbed deposit, in the 
lower part of which were some well-shaped flint knives, 
evidently of human workmanship. It is clear from their po 
sition that man was coeval with these two species. We have 
elsewhere independent proofs of his coexistence with every 
other species of the cave-fauna of Glamorganshire ; but this 
is the first well-authenticated example of the occurrence of 
R. hemitoechus in connection with human implements. 

In the fossil fauna of the valley of the Thames, Rhinoceros 
leptorhinus was mentioned as occurring at Gray's Thurrock 
with Elephas antiquus. Dr. Falconer, in a memoir which 
he is now preparing for the press on the European pliocene 
and post-pliocene species of the genus Rhinoceros, has shown 
that, under the above name of R. leptorhinus, three distinct 
species have been confounded by Cuvier, Owen, and other 
palaeontologists : 

1. R. Megarhinus Christol, being the original and typical 
R. leptorhinus of Cuvier, founded on Cortesi's Monte Zago 
cranium, and the only pliocene, or post-pliocene European 
species, that had not a nasal septum. Gray's Thurrock, &c. 

2. R. hemitoechus Falconer, in which the ossification of the 
septum dividing the nostrils is incomplete in the middle, 
besides other cranial and dental characters distinguishing it 
from R. tichorhinus, accompanies Elephas antiquus in most 
of the oldest British bone-caves, such as Kirkdale, Cefn, 


Durdham Down, Minchin Hole, and other Grower caverns 
also found at Clacton, in Essex, and in Northamptonshire. 
3. R. etruscus Falconer, a comparatively slight and slender 
form, also with an incomplete bony septum,* occurs deep 
in the Val d'Arno deposits, and in the 'Forest bed,' and 
superimposed blue clays, with lignite, of the Norfolk coast, 
but nowhere as yet found in the ossiferous caves in Britain. 

Dr. Falconer announced in 1859 his opinion that the 
filling up of the Grower caves in South Wales took place after 
the deposition of the marine boulder clay,f an opinion in 
harmony with what we have since learnt from the section of 
the gravels near Bedford, given above at p. 155, where a 
fauna corresponding to that of the Welsh caves characterises 
the ancient alluvium, and is shown to be clearly post-glacial, 
in the sense of being posterior in date to the submergence of 
the midland counties beneath the waters of the glacial sea. 
The Grower caves in general have their floors strewed over 
with sand, containing marine shells, all of living species ; and 
there are raised beaches on the adjoining coast, and other 
geological signs of great alteration in the relative level of 
land and sea, since that country was inhabited by the extinct 
mammalia, some of which, as we have seen, were certainly 
coeval with man. 

Ossiferous Caves in North of Sicily. 

Greologists have long been familiar with the fact that on 
the northern coast of Sicily, between Termini on the east, and 
Trapani on the west, there are many caves containing the 
bones of extinct animals. These caves are situated in rocks 
of hippurite limestone, a member of the cretaceous series, and 
some of them may be seen on both sides of the Bay of 

* See Falconer, Quarterly Geolo- f Geological Quarterly Journal, 
gical Journal, vol. xv. p. 602. vol. xvi. p. 491, 1860. 


Palermo. If in the neighbourhood of that city we proceed 
from the sea inland, ascending a sloping terrace, composed of 
the marine Newer Pliocene strata, we reach about a mile from 
the shore, and at the height of about one hundred and eighty 
feet above it. a precipice of limestone, at the base of which 
appear the entrances of several caves. In that of San Giro, 
on the east side of the bay, we find at the bottom sand with 
marine shells, forty species of which have been examined, and 
found almost all to agree specifically with mollusca now 
inhabiting the Mediterranean. Higher in position, and 
resting on the sand, is a breccia, composed of pieces of 
limestone, quartz, and schist in a matrix of brown marl, 
through which land shells are dispersed, together with 
bones of. two species of hippopotamus, as determined by 
Dr. Falconer. Certain bones of the skeleton were counted in 
such numbers as to prove that they must have belonged to 
several hundred individuals. With these were associated the 
remains of Elephas antiquus, and bones of the genera Bos, 
Cervus, Sus, Ursus, Canis, and a large Felis. Some of these 
bones have been rolled as if partially subjected to the action 
of water, and may have been introduced by streams through 
rents in the hippurite limestone ; but there is now no 
running water in the neighbourhood, no river such as the 
hippopotamus might frequent, not even a small brook, so that 
the physical geography of the district must have been alto 
gether changed since the time when such remains were swept 
into fissures, or into the channels of engulfed rivers. 

No proofs seem yet to have been found of the existence of 
man at the period when the hippopotamus and Elephas an- 
tiquus flourished at San Giro. But there is another cave 
called the -Grotto di Maccagnone, which much resembles it 
in geological position, on the opposite or west side of the Bay 
of Palermo, near Carini. In the bottom of this cave a bone 
deposit like that of San Giro occurs, and above it other 


materials reaching to the roof, and evidently washed in from 
above, through crevices in the limestone. In this upper and 
newer breccia Dr. Falconer discovered flint knives, bone 
splinters, bits of charcoal, burnt clay, and other objects in 
dicating human intervention, mingled with entire land shells, 
teeth of horses, coprolites of hyaenas, and other bones, the 
whole agglutinated to one another and to the roof by the 
infiltration of water holding lime in solution. The perfect 
condition of the large fragile helices (Helix vermiculatci) 
afforded satisfactory evidence, says Dr. Falconer, that the 
various articles were carried into the cave by the tranquil 
agency of water, and not by any tumultuous action. At a 
subsequent period other geographical changes took place, so 
that the cave, after it had been filled, was washed out again, 
or emptied of its contents with the exception of those patches 
of breccia which, being cemented together by stalactite, still 
adhere to the roof.* 

Baron Anca, following up these investigations, explored, in 
1859, another cave at Mondello, west of Palermo, and north 
of Mount Grallo, where he discovered molars of the living 
African elephant, and afterwards additional specimens of the 
same species in the neighbouring grotto of Olivella, In re 
ference to this elephant, Dr. Falconer has reminded us that 
the distance between the nearest part of Sicily and the coast 
of Africa, between Marsala and Cape Bon, is not more than 
eighty miles, and Admiral Smyth, in his Memoir on the 
Mediterranean, states (p. 499) that there is a subaqueous 
plateau, named by him Adventure Bank, uniting Sicily to 
Africa by a succession of ridges which are not more than 
from forty to fifty fathoms under water.f Sicily therefore 
might be re-united to Africa by movements of upheaval not 

* Note, Quarterly Geological Journal, dent of Geological Society, Anni- 
yol. xvi. p. 105, 1860. versary Address, February 1861, 

t Note, Cited by Mr. Horner, Presi- p. 42. 


greater than those which are already known to have taken 
place within the human period on the borders of the Mediter 
ranean, of which I shall now proceed to cite a well-authen 
ticated example, observed in Sardinia. 

Rise of the Bed of the Sea to the Height of 300 Feet, in the 
Human Period, in Sardinia. 

Count Albert de la Marmora, in his description of the geo 
logy of Sardinia, * has shown that on the southern coast of 
that island, at Cagliari and in the neighbourhood, an ancient 
bed of the sea, containing marine shells of living species, and 
numerous fragments of antique pottery, has been elevated 
to the height of from seventy to ninety-eight metres above 
the present level of the Mediterranean. Oysters and other 
shells, of which a careful list has been published, including 
the common mussel (Mytilus edulis), many of them having 
both valves united, occur, embedded in a breccia in which 
fragments of limestone abound. The mussels are often in 
such numbers as to impart, when they have decomposed, 
a violet colour to the marine stratum. Besides pieces of 
coarse pottery, a flattened ball of baked earthenware, with a 
hole through its axis, was found in the midst of the marine 
shells. It is supposed to have been used for weighting a fish 
ing net. Of this and of one of the fragments of ancient 
pottery Count de la Marmora has given figures. 

The upraised bed of the sea probably belongs in this in 
stance to the post-pliocene period, for in a bone breccia, filling 
fissures in the rocks around Cagliari, the remains of extinct 
mammalia have been detected ; among which is a new genus 
of carnivorous quadruped, named Cynotherium by M. Studiati, 
and figured by Count de la Marmora in his Atlas (pi. vii.), also 
an extinct species of Lagomys, determined by Cuvier in 1825 

* Partie Geologique, torn. i. pp. 382, 387. 


Embedded in the same bone breccia, and enveloped with red 
earth like the mammalian remains, were detected shells of 
the Mytilus edulis before mentioned, implying that the 
marine formation containing shells and pottery had been 
already upheaved and exposed to denudation before the 
remains of quadrupeds were washed into these rents and 
included in the red earth. In the vegetable soil covering the 
upraised marine stratum, with the older works of art, frag 
ments of Eoman pottery occur. 

If we assume the average rate of upheaval to have been, as 
before hinted, p. 58, two and a half feet in a century, 300 feet 
would give an antiquity of 12,000 years to the Cagliari pot 
tery, even if we simply confine our estimate to the upheaval 
above the sea-level, without allowing for the original depth of 
water in which the mollusca lived. Even then our calculation 
would merely embrace the period during which the upward 
movement was going on ; and we can form at present no con- 
jecture as to the probable era of its commencement or termi 

I learn from Capt. Spratt, E.N., that the island of Crete 
or Candia, about 135 miles in length, has been raised at its 
western extremity about twenty-five feet ; so that ancient ports 
are now high and dry above the sea, while at its eastern end it 
has sunk so much that the ruins of old towns are seen under 
water. Revolutions like these in the physical geography of the 
countries bordering the Mediterranean, may well help us to 
understand the phenomena of the Palermo caves, and the 
presence in Sicily of African species of mammalia. 

Climate and Habits of the Hippopotamus. 

As I have alluded more than once in this chapter (pp. 172, 

175) to the occurrence of the remains of the hippopotamus 

in places where there are now no rivers, not even a rill of 

water, and as other bones of the same genus have been met 


with in the lower level gravels of the Somme (p. 134), where 
large blocks of sandstone seem to imply that ice once played a 
part in their transportation, it may be well to consider, before 
proceeding farther, what geographical and climatal conditions 
are indicated by the presence of these fossil pachyderms. 

It is now very generally conceded that the mammoth and 
tichorhine rhinoceros were fitted to inhabit northern regions, 
and it is therefore natural to begin by asking whether the 
extinct hippopotamus may not in like manner have flourished 
in a cold climate. In answer to this enquiry, it has been 
remarked, that the living hippopotami, anatomically speaking 
so closely allied to the extinct species, are so aquatic and 
fluviatile in their habits, as to make it difficult to conceive 
that their congeners could have thriven all the year round 
in regions where, during winter, the rivers were frozen over 
for months. Moreover, I have been unable to learn that, in 
any instance, bones of the hippopotamus have been found in 
the drift of northern Grermany associated with the remains 
of the mammoth, tichorhine rhinoceros, musk-buffalo, rein 
deer, lemming, and other arctic quadrupeds before alluded to 
(p. 157); yet, though not proved to have ever made a part 
of such a fauna, the presence of the fossil hippopotamus north 
of the fiftieth parallel of latitude naturally tempts us to 
speculate on the migratory powers and instincts of some of 
the extinct species of the genus. They may have resembled, 
in this respect, the living musk-buffalo, herds of which pass 
for hundreds of miles over the ice to the rich pastures of 
Melville Island, and then return again to southern latitudes 
before the ice breaks up. 

I am indebted to Dr. Falconer for having called my 
attention to the account given by an experienced zoologist, 
Dr. Andrew Smith,* of the migratory habits of the living 
hippopotamus of Southern Africa (H. amphibius, Linn.). 

* Illustrations of the Zoology of South Africa : art. ' Hippopotamus.' 

N 2 


He states that, when the Dutch first colonized the Cape of 
Good Hope, this animal abounded in all the great rivers, as 
far south as the land extends; whereas, in 1849, they had all 
disappeared, scarcely one remaining even within a moderate 
distance of the colony. He also tells us that this species 
evinces great sagacity in changing its quarters whenever 
danger threatens, quitting every district invaded by settlers 
bearing fire-arms. Bulky as they are, they can travel 
speedily for miles over land from one pool of a dried-up 
river to another ; but it is by water that their powers of 
locomotion are surpassingly great, not only in rivers, but in 
the sea, for they are far from confining themselves to fresh 
water. Indeed, Dr. Smith finds it ' difficult to decide whether, 
during the daytime and when not feeding, they prefer the 
pools of rivers or the waters of the ocean for their abode.' In 
districts where they have been disturbed by man, they feed 
almost entirely in the night, chiefly on certain kinds of grass, 
but also on brushwood. Dr. Smith relates that, in an ex 
pedition which he made north of Port Natal, he found them 
swarming in all the rivers about the tropic of Capricorn, 
Here they were often seen to have left their foot-prints on 
the sands, entering or coming out of the salt water ; and on 
one occasion Smith's party tried in vain to intercept a 
female with her young as she was making her way to the sea. 
Another female, which they had wounded on her precipitate 
retreat to the sea, was afterwards shot in that element. 

The geologist, therefore, may freely speculate on the time 
when herds of hippopotami issued from North African rivers, 
such as the Nile, and swam northwards in summer along the 
coasts of the Mediterranean, or even occasionally visited 
islands near the shore. Here and there they may have landed 
to graze or browse, tarrying awhile and afterwards continuing 
their course northwards. Others may have swum in a few 
summer days from rivers in the south of Spain or France to 


the Somme, Thames, or Severn, making timely retreat to the 
south before the snow and ice set in. 

Burial-place at A urignac, in the South of France, of 
Post-pliocene Date. 

I have alluded in the beginning of the fourth chapter (p. 58) 
to a custom prevalent among rude nations of consigning to the 
tomb works of art, once the property of the dead or objects 
of their affection, and even of storing up, in many cases, 
animal food destined for the manes of the defunct in a future 
life. I also cited M. Desnoyers' comments on the absence 
among the bones of wild and domestic animals found in old 
Gaulish tombs of all intermixture of extinct species of qua 
drupeds, as proving that the oldest sepulchral monuments 
then known in France (1845) had no claims to high antiquity 
founded on palseontological data. 

M. Lartet, however, has recently published a circumstantial 
account of what seems clearly to have been a sepulchral vault 
of the post-pliocene period, near Aurignac, not far from the 
foot of the Pyrenees. I have had the advantage of inspect 
ing the fossil bones and works of art obtained by him from 
that grotto, and of conversing and corresponding with him 
on the subject, and can see no grounds for doubting the sound 
ness of his conclusions.* 

The town of Aurignac is situated in the department of the 
Haute Graronne, near a spur of the Pyrenees ; adjoining it is 
the small flat-topped hill of Fajoles, about sixty feet above 
the brook called Eodes, which flows at its foot on one side. 
It consists of nummulitic limestone, presenting a steep escarp 
ment towards the north-west, on which side in the face of the 

* See Lartet, Annales des Mines, in Natural History Eeview, London, 
Zoologie, torn. xv. p. 177, translated January 1862. 


rock, about forty-five feet above the brook, is now visible the 
entrance of a grotto, a, fig. 25, which opened originally on the 
terrace h, c, k, which slopes gently towards the valley. 

Fig. 25 

Section of part of the hill of Fajoles passing through the sepulchral grotto of 
Aurignac (E. Lartet). 

a Part of the vault in which the remains of seventeen human skeletons 
were found. 

b Layer of made ground, two feet thick, inside the grotto in which a few 
human bones, with entire bones of extinct and living species of ani 
mals, and many works of art were embedded. 

c Layers of ashes and charcoal, eight inches thick, with broken, burnt, and 
gnawed bones of extinct and recent mammalia; also hearth-stones 
and works of art ; no human bones. 

d Deposit with similar contents and a few scattered cinders. 

e Talus of rubbish washed down from the hill above. 

/, g Slab of rock which closed the vault, not ascertained whether it ex 
tended to h. . 

/, i Eabbit burrow which led to the discovery of the grotto. 

h, Jc Original terrace on which the grotto opened. 

N Nummulitic limestone of hill of Fajoles. 

Until the year 1852, the opening into this grotto was 
masked by a talus of small fragments of limestone and earthy 


matter, e, such as the rain may have washed down the slope 
of the hill. In that year a labourer named Bonnemaison, 
employed in repairing the roads, observed that rabbits, when 
hotly pursued by the sportsman, ran into a hole which they 
had burrowed in the talus, at i /, fig. 25. On reaching as far 
into the opening as the length of his arm, he drew out, to 
his surprise, one of the long bones of the human skeleton ; and 
his curiosity being excited, and having a suspicion that the 
hole communicated with a subterranean cavity, he commenced 
digging a trench through the middle of the talus, and in a 
few hours found himself opposite a large heavy slab of rock 
/ h, placed vertically against the entrance. Having removed 
this, he discovered on the other side of it an arched cavity, a, 
seven or eight feet in its greatest height, ten in width, and 
seven in horizontal depth. It was almost filled with bones, 
among which were two entire skulls, which he recognised at once 
as human. The people of Aurignac, astonished to hear of the 
occurrence of so many human relics in so lonely a spot, flocked 
to the cave, and Dr. Amiel, the Mayor, ordered all the bones 
to be taken out and reinterred in the parish cemetery. But 
before this was done, having as a medical man a knowledge 
of anatomy, he ascertained by counting the homologous 
bones that they must have formed parts of no less than seven 
teen skeletons of both sexes, and all ages; some so young that 
the ossification of some of the bones was incomplete. He also 
remarked that the size of the adults was such as to imply 
a race of small stature. Unfortunately the skulls were 
injured in the transfer ; and what is worse, after the lapse of 
eight years, when M. Lartet visited Aurignac, the village 
sexton was unable to tell him in what exact place the trench 
was dug, into which the skeletons had been thrown, so that 
this rich harvest of ethnological knowledge seems for ever lost 
to the antiquary and geologist. 

M. Lartet having been shown, in 1860, the remains of some 


extinct animals and works of art, found in digging the 
original trench made by Bonnemaison through the bed d 
under the talus, and some others brought out from the interior 
of the grotto, determined to investigate systematically what 
remained intact of the deposits outside and inside the vault, 
those inside, underlying the human skeletons, being supposed 
to consist entirely of made ground. Having obtained the 
assistance, of some intelligent workmen, he personally super 
intended their labours, and found outside the grotto, resting 
on the sloping terrace h k, the layer of ashes and charcoal 
c, about seven inches thick, extending over an area of six 
or seven square yards, and going as far as the entrance 
of the grotto and no farther, there being no cinders or 
charcoal in the interior. Among the cinders outside the 
vault were fragments of fissile sandstone, reddened by heat, 
which were observed to rest on a levelled surface of nummu- 
litic limestone and to have formed a hearth. The nearest 
place from whence such slabs of sandstone could have been 
brought was the opposite side of the valley. 

Among the ashes, and in some overlying earthy layers, d, 
separating the ashes from the talus e, were a great variety 
of bones and implements ; amongst the latter not fewer 
than a hundred flint articles knives, projectiles, sling 
stones, and chips, and among them one of those siliceous 
cores or nuclei with numerous facets, from which flint flakes 
or knives had been struck off, seeming to prove that 
some instruments were occasionally manufactured on the 
very spot. 

Among other articles outside the entrance was found a 
stone of a circular form, and flattened on two sides, with a 
central depression, composed of a tough rock which does not 
belong to that region of the Pyrenees. This instrument is 
supposed by the Danish antiquaries to have been used for re 
moving by skilful blows the edges of flint knives, the 


fingers and thumb being placed in the two opposite depressions 
during the operation. Among the bone instruments were 
arrows without barbs, and other tools made of rein-deer 
horn, and a bodkin formed out of the more compact horn 
of the roe-deer. This instrument was well shaped, and 
sharply pointed, and in so good a state of preservation 
that it might still be used for piercing the tough skins of 

Scattered through the same ashes and earth were the 
bones of the various species of animals enumerated in the 
subjoined lists, with the exception of two, marked with 
an asterisk, which only occurred in the interior of the 
grotto : 


Number of individuals. 

1. Ursus spel&us (cave-bear) 5 - - 6 

2. Ursus Arctos ? (brown bear) . . 1 

3. Meles Taxus (badger) 1 2 

4. Putorius vulgaris (polecat) . . 1 
5.*Felis spel&a (cave-lion) 1 

6. Felis Catus ferus (wild cat) .... 1 

7. Hyana spelcea (cave-hyaena) . . . .5 6 

8. Canis Lupus (wolf) 3 

9. Canis Vulpes (fox) U8 20 


1. Elephas primigenius (mammoth, two molars). 

2. Ehinoceros tichorhinus (Siberian rhinoceros) . 1 

3. Equus Cabcdlus (horse) 12 15 

4. Equus Asinus ? (ass) 1 

5.*Sus Scrofa (pig, two incisors). 

6. Cervus Elephas (stag) 1 

7. Megaceros hybernicus (gigantic Irish deer) . . 1 

8. G. Capreolus (roebuck) 3 4 

9. C. Tarandus (reindeer) 10 12 

10. Bison europ&us (aurochs) 12 15 

The bones of the herbivora were the most numerous, and 
all those on the outside of the grotto which had contained 
marrow were invariably split open, as if for its extraction, many 


of them being also burnt. The spongy parts/ moreover, 
were wanting, having been eaten off and gnawed after they 
were broken, the work, according to M. Lartet, of hyaenas, 
the bones and coprolites of which were plentifully mixed with 
the cinders, and dispersed through the overlying soil d. These 
beasts of prey are supposed to have prowled about the spot 
and fed on such relics of the funeral feasts as remained after 
the retreat of the human visitors, or during the intervals 
between successive funeral ceremonies which accompanied 
the interment of the corpses within the sepulchre. Many of 
the bones were also streaked, as if the flesh had been scraped 
off by a flint instrument. 

Among the various proofs that the bones were fresh when 
brought to the spot, it is remarked that those of the herbivora 
not only bore the marks of having had the marrow extracted 
and having afterwards been gnawed and in part devoured as if 
by carnivorous beasts, but that they had also been acted upon 
by fire (and this was especially noticed in one case of a 
cave-bear's bone), in such a manner as to show that they 
retained in them at the time all their animal matter. 

Among other quadrupeds which appear to have been eaten 
at the funeral feasts, and of which the bones occurred among 
the ashes, were those of a young Rhinoceros tichorhinus, the 
bones of which had been split open for the extraction of the 
marrow, and gnawed by a beast of prey at both extremities. 

Outside of the great slab of stone forming the door, 
not one human bone occurred ; inside of it there were found, 
mixed with loose soil, the remains of as many as seventeen 
human individuals, besides some works of art and bones of 
animals. We know nothing of the arrangement of these 
bones when they were first broken into. M. Lartet infers, 
from the small height and dimensions of the vault, that the 
bodies were bent down upon themselves in a squatting atti 
tude, a posture known to have been adopted in most of the 
sepulchres of primitive times ; and he has so represented them 


in his restoration of the cave. His artist also has inad 
vertently, in the same drawing, delineated the arched grotto 
as if it were shaped very regularly and smoothly, like a finished 
piece of masonry, whereas the surface was in truth as uneven 
and irregular as are the roofs of all natural grottos. 

There was no stalagmite in the grotto, and M. Lartet, an 
experienced investigator of ossiferous caverns in the south of 
France, came to the conclusion that all the bones and soil 
found in the inside were artificially introduced. The sub 
stratum, 6, fig. 25, which remained after the skeletons had 
been removed, was about two feet thick. In it were found 
about ten detached human bones, including a molar tooth ; 
and M. Delesse ascertained by careful analysis of one of these, 
as well as of the bones of a rhinoceros, bear, and some other 
extinct animals, that they all contained precisely the same 
proportion of azote, or had lost an equal quantity of their 
animal matter. My friend Mr. Evans, before cited, has sug 
gested to me that such a fact, taken alone, may not be con 
clusive in favour of the equal antiquity of the human and 
other remains, although it has no doubt an important bearing 
on the case, because, had the human skeletons been found to 
contain less gelatine than those of the extinct mammalia, it 
would have shown that they were the more modern of the 
two. But it is possible that after a bone has gone on 
losing its animal matter up to a certain point, it may then 
part with no more so long as it continues enveloped in the 
same matrix, so that if all the bones have lain for many thou 
sands of years in a particular soil, they may all have reached 
long ago the maximum of decomposition attainable in such a 
matrix. In the present case, however, the proof of the con 
temporaneousness of man and the extinct animals does not 
depend simply on the identity of their mineral condition. 
The chemical analysis of M. Delesse is only a fact in corro- 
boration of a great mass of other evidence. 

Mixed with the human bones inside the grotto first re- 


moved by Bonnemaison, were eighteen small, round, and flat 
plates of a white shelly substance, made of some species of 
cockle (Cardium), pierced through the middle as if for being 
strung into a bracelet. In the substratum also in the interior 
examined by M. Lartet was found the tusk of a young Ursus 
spelceus, the crown of which had been stripped of its enamel, 
and which had been carved perhaps in imitation of the head 
of a bird. It was perforated lengthwise as if for suspension 
as an ornament or amulet. A flint knife also was found in 
the interior which had evidently never been used; in this 
respect, unlike the numerous worn specimens found outside, 
so that it is conjectured that it may, like other associated 
works of art, have been placed there as part of the funeral 

A few teeth of the cave-lion, Felis spelcea, and two tusks of 
the wild boar, also found in the interior, were memorials 
perhaps of the chase. No remains of the same animals were 
met with among the external relics. 

On the whole, the bones of animals inside the vault offer a 
remarkable contrast to those of the exterior, being all entire 
and uninjured, none of them broken, gnawed, half-eaten, 
scraped or burnt like those lying among the ashes on the 
other side of the great slab which formed the portal. The 
bones of the interior seem to have been clothed with their 
flesh, when buried in the layer of loose soil strewed over the 
floor. In confirmation of this idea, many bones of the 
skeleton were often observed to be in juxta-position, and in 
one spot nearly all the bones of an Ursus spelceus were lying 
together uninjured. Add to this, the entire absence in the 
interior of cinders and charcoal, and we can scarcely doubt that 
we have here an example of an ancient place of sepulture, 
closed at the opening so effectually against the hysenas or 
other carnivora that no marks of their teeth appear on any of 
the bones, whether human or brute. 


John Carver, in his travels in the interior of North" America 
in 1766-68 (ch. xv.), gave a minute account of the funeral 
rites of an Indian tribe, which inhabited the country now 
called Iowa, at the junction of the St. Peter's Eiver with the 
Mississippi ; and Schiller, iD his famous ' Nadowessische 
Todtenklage,' has faithfully embodied in a poetic dirge all 
the characteristic features of the ceremonies so graphically 
described by the English traveller, not omitting the many 
funeral gifts which, we are told, were placed c in a cave' 
with the bodies of the dead. The lines beginning, ' Bringet 
her die letzten Graben,' have been thus translated, truth 
fully, and with all the spirit of the original, by Sir E. L. 
Bulwer * 

' Here bring the last gifts ! and with these 

The last lament be said ; 
Let all that pleased, and yet may please, 
Be buried with the dead. 

' Beneath his head the hatchet hide, 

That he so stoutly swung ; 
And place the bear's fat haunch beside 
The journey hence is long ! 

' And let the knife new sharpened be 

That on the battle-day 

Shore with quick strokes he took but three 
The foeman's scalp away ! 

' The paints that warriors love to use, 

Place here within his hand, 
That he may shine with ruddy hues 
Amidst the spirit-land.' 

If we accept M. Lartet's interpretation of the ossiferous de 
posits of Aurignac, both inside and outside the grotto, they 
add nothing to the palseontological evidence in favour of 
man's antiquity, for we have seen all the same mammalia 
associated elsewhere with flint implements, and some species, 
such as the Elephas antiquus, Rhinoceros hemitcechus, and 
Hippopotamus major, missing here, have been met with in 

* Poems and Ballads of Schiller. 


other places. An argument, however, having an opposite 
leaning may perhaps be founded on the phenomena of 
Aurignac. It may, indeed it has been said, that they imply 
that some of the extinct mammalia survived nearly to our 

Fi rs t ? Because of the modern style of the works of art 
at Aurignac. 

Secondlv, Because of the absence of any signs of change 
in the physical geography of the country since the cave was 
used for a place of sepulture. 

In reference to the first of these propositions, the utensils, 
it is said, of bone and stone indicate a more advanced state of 
the arts than the flint implements of Abbeville and Amiens. 
M. Lartet, however, is of opinion that they do not, and thinks 
that we have no right to assume that the fabricators of the 
various spear-headed and other tools of the Valley of the 
Somme possessed no bone instruments or ornaments resem 
bling those discovered at Aurignac. These last, moreover, 
he regards as extremely rude in comparison with others of the 
stone period in France, which can be proved palseontologically, 
at least by strong negative evidence, to be of subsequent date. 
Thus, for example, at Savigne, near Civray, in the department 
of Vienne, there is a cave in which there are no extinct mam 
malia, but where remains of the rein-deer abound. The 
works of art of the stone period found there indicate con 
siderable progress in skill beyond that attested by the objects 
found in the Aurignac grotto. Among the Savigne articles, 
there is a stag's horn, on which figures of two animals, ap 
parently meant for deer, are engraved in outline, as if by a 
sharp-pointed flint. In another cave, that of Massat, in the 
department of Arriege, which M. Lartet ascribes to the period 
of the aurochs, a quadruped which survived the rein-deer in 
the south of France, there are bone instruments of a still more 
advanced state of the arts, as, for example, barbed arrows 


with a small canal in each, believed to have served for the 
insertion of poison ; also a needle of bird's bone, finely shaped, 
with an eye or perforation at one end, and a stag's horn, on 
which is carved a representation of a bear's head, and a hole 
at one end as if for suspending it. In this figure we see, says 
M. Lartet, what may perhaps be the earliest known example 
of lines used to express shading. 

The fauna of the aurochs (Bison europceus) agrees with 
that of the earlier lake dwellings in Switzerland, in which 
hitherto the rein-deer is wanting ; whereas the rein-deer has 
been found in a Swiss cave, in Mont Saleve, supposed by 
Lartet to be more ancient than the lake dwellings. 

According to this view, the mammalian fauna has undergone 
at least two fluctuations since the remains of some extinct 
quadrupeds were eaten, and others buried as funeral gifts 
in the sepulchral vault of Aurignac. 

As to the absence of any marked changes in the physical 
configuration of the district since the same grotto was a place 
of sepulture, we must remember that it is the normal state 
of the earth's surface to be undergoing great alterations in 
one place, while other areas, often in close proximity, remain 
for ages without any modification. In one region, rivers 
are deepening and widening their channels, or the waves 
of the sea are undermining cliffs, or the land is sinking 
beneath or rising above the waters, century after century, or 
the volcano is pouring forth torrents of lava or showers of 
ashes ; while, in tracts -hard by, the ancient forest, or extensive 
heath, or the splendid city continue scatheless and motionless. 
Had the talus which concealed from view the ancient hearth 
with its cinders and the massive stone portal of the Aurignac 
grotto escaped all human interference for thousands of years 
to come, there is no reason to suppose that the small stream 
at the foot of the hill of Fajoles would have undermined it. 
At the end of a long period the only alteration might have 


been the thickening of the talus which protected the loose 
cinders and bones from waste. We behold in many a valley 
of Auvergne, within fifty feet of the present river channel, a 
volcanic cone of loose ashes, with a crater at its summit, from 
which powerful currents of basaltic lava have poured, usurping 
the ancient bed of the torrent. By the action of the stream, 
in the course of ages, vast masses of the hard columnar basalt 
have been removed, pillar after pillar, and much vesicular 
lava, as in the case, for example, of the Puy Eouge, near 
Chalucet, and of the Puy de Tartar et, near Nechers.* The 
rivers have even in some cases, as the Sioule, near Chalucet, 
cut through not only the basalt which dispossessed them of 
their ancient channels, but have actually eaten fifty feet into 
the subjacent gneiss ; yet the cone, an incoherent heap of 
scoria3 and spongy ejectamenta, stands unmolested. Had the 
waters once risen, even for a day, so high as to reach the 
level of the base of one of these cones had there been a single 
flood fifty or sixty feet in height since the last eruption oc 
curred, a great part of these volcanoes must inevitably have 
been swept away as readily as all traces of the layer of cinders ; 
and the accompanying bones would have been obliterated by 
the Rodes near Aurignac, had it risen, since the days of the 
mammoth, rhinoceros, and cave-bear, fifty feet above its 
present level. 

The Aurignac cave adds no new species to the list of 
extinct quadrupeds, which we have elsewhere, and by inde 
pendent evidence, ascertained to have once flourished con 
temporaneously with man. But if the fossil memorials have 
been correctly interpreted if we have here before us at the 
northern base of the Pyrenees a sepulchral vault with 
skeletons of human beings, consigned by friends and 
relatives to their last resting-place if we have also at the 

* Scrope's Volcanoes of Central France, p. 97, 1858. 


portal of the tomb the relics of funeral feasts, and within it 
indications of viands destined for the use of the departed on 
their way to a land of spirits ; while among the funeral gifts 
are weapons wherewith in other fields to chase the gigantic 
deer, the cave-lion, the cave-bear, and woolly rhinoceros, we 
have at last succeeded in tracing back the sacred rites of 
burial, and, more interesting still, a belief in a future state, 
to times long anterior to those of history and tradition. 
Rude and superstitious as may have been the savage of that 
remote era, he still deserved, by cherishing hopes of a here 
after, the epithet of ' noble,' which Dryden gave to what he 
seems to have pictured to himself as the primitive condition 
of our race : 

' as Nature first made man 
When wild in woods the noble savage ran.' * 

Siege of Granada, Part I., act i. scene 1. 










AMONG- the fossil remains of the human species supposed 
to have claims to high antiquity, and which have for 
many years attracted attention, two of the most prominent 
examples are 

First, f The fossil man of Denise,' comprising the re 
mains of more than one skeleton, found in a volcanic breccia 
near the town of Le Puy-en-Velay, in Central France. 

Secondly, The fossil human bone of Natchez, on the Mis 
sissippi, supposed to have been derived from a deposit con 
taining remains of mastodon and megalonyx. Having 
carefully examined the sites of both of these celebrated fossils, 
I shall consider in this chapter the nature of the evidence on 
which the remote date of their entombment is inferred. 

Fossil Man of Denise, 

An account of the fossil remains, so called, was first published 
in 1844, by M. Aymard of Le Puy, a writer of deservedly 


high authority both as a palaeontologist and archaeologist.* 
M. Pictet, after visiting Le Puy and investigating the site 
of the alleged discovery, was satisfied that the fossil bones 
belonged to the period of the last volcanic eruptions of Velay ; 
but expressly stated in his important treatise on palaeontology 
that this conclusion, though it might imply that man had 
coexisted with the extinct elephant, did not draw with it the 
admission that the human race was anterior in date to the 
filling of the caverns of France and Belgium with the bones 
of extinct mammalia.f 

At a meeting of the ' Scientific Congress ' of France, held 
at Le Puy in 1856, the question of the age of the Denise 
fossil bones was fully gone into, and in the report of their 
proceedings published in that year, the opinions of some of 
the most skilful osteologists respecting the point in con 
troversy are recorded. The late Abbe Croizet, a most 
experienced collector of fossil bones in the volcanic regions 
of Central France, and an able naturalist, and the late M. 
Laurillard, of Paris, who assisted Cuvier in modelling many 
fossil bones, and in the arrangement of the museum of the 
Jardin, declared their opinion that the specimen preserved in 
the museum of Le Puy is no counterfeit. They believed the 
human bones to have been enveloped by natural causes in 
the tufaceous matrix in which we now see them. 

In the year 1859, Professor Hebert and M. Lartet visited 
Le Puy, expressly to investigate the same specimen, and to 
inquire into the authenticity of the bones and their geological 
age. Later in the same year, I went myself to Le Puy, 
having the same object in view, and had the good fortune to 
meet there my friend Mr. Poulett Scrope, with whom I ex 
amined the Montagne de Denise, where "a peasant related to 
us how he had dug out the specimen with his own hands and 

* Bulletin de la Societe Geologique f Trait6 de Paleontologie, torn. i. 

de France, 1844, 1845, 1847. p. 152, 1853. 

o 2 


in his own vineyard, not far from the summit of the volcano. I 
employed a labourer to make under his directions some fresh 
excavations, following up those which had been made a month 
earlier by MM. Hebert and Lartet, in the hope of verifying 
the true position of the fossils, but all of us without success. 
We failed even to find in situ any exact counterpart of the 
stone of the Le Puy Museum. 

The osseous remains of that specimen consist of a frontal 
and some other parts of the skull, including the upper jaw 
with teeth, both of an adult and young individual ; also a 
radius, some lumbar vertebrae, and some metatarsal bones. 
They are all embedded in a light porous tuff, resembling in 
colour and mineral composition the ejectamenta of several of 
the latest eruptions of Denise. But none of the bones pene 
trate into another part of the same specimen, which consists 
of a more compact rock thickly laminated. Nevertheless, I 
agree with the Abbe Croizet and M. Aymard, that it is not 
conceivable even that the less coherent part of the museum 
specimen which envelopes the human bones should have been 
artificially put together, whatever may have been the origin 
of certain other slabs of tuff which were afterwards sold as 
coming from the same place, and which also contained human 
remains. Whether some of these were spurious or not is a 
question more difficult to decide. One of them, now in the 
possession of M. Pichot-Dumazel, an advocate of Le Puy, is 
suspected of having had some plaster of Paris introduced into 
it to bind the bones more firmly together in the loose vol 
canic tuff. I was assured that a dealer in objects of natural 
history at Le Puy had been in the habit of occasionally se 
curing the cohesion in that manner of fragments of broken 
bones, and the juxta-position of uninjured ones found free 
and detachable in loose volcanic tuffs. From this to. the 
fabrication of a factitious human fossil was, it is suggested, 
but a short step. But in reference to M. Pichot's specimen, 


an expert anatomist remarked to me that it would far exceed 
the skill, whether of the peasant who owned the vineyard or 
of the dealer above mentioned, to put together in their true 
position all the thirty-eight bones of the hand and fingers, or 
the sixteen of the wrist, without making any mistake, and 
especially without mixing those of the right with the ho 
mologous bones of the left hand, assuming that they had 
brought bones, from some other spot, and then artificially 
introduced them into a mixture of volcanic tuff and plaster 
of Paris. 

Granting, however, that the high prices given for ( human 
fossils ' at Le Puy may have led to the perpetration of some 
frauds, it is still an interesting question to consider whether 
the admission of the genuineness of a single fossil, such as 
that now in the museum at Le Puy, would lead us to assign 
a higher antiquity to the existence of man in France than is 
deducible from many other facts explained in the last seven 
chapters. In reference to this point, I may observe, that 
although I was not able to fix with precision the exact bed in 
the volcanic mountain from which the rock containing the 
human bones was taken, M. Felix Eobert has, nevertheless, 
after studying ( the volcanic alluviums ' of Denise, ascer 
tained that, on the side of Cheyrac and the village of 
Malouteyre, blocks of tufif frequently occur exactly like the 
one in the museum. That tuff he considers a product of 
the latest eruption of the volcano. In it have been found 
the remains of Hycena spelcea and Hippopotamus major. 
The eruptions of steam and gaseous matter which burst 
forth from the crater of Denise broke through laminated 


tertiary clays, small pieces of which, some of them scarcely 
altered, others half converted into scoriaB, were cast out 
in abundance, while other portions must have been in a 
state of argillaceous mud. Showers of such materials would 
be styled by the Neapolitans '. aqueous lava ' or ' lava d' aqua,' 


and we may well suppose that some human individuals, 
if any existed, would, together with wild animals, be occa 
sionally overwhelmed in these tuffs. From near the place 
on the mountain whence the block with human bones now 
in the museum is said to have come, a stream of lava, well 
marked by its tabular structure, flowed down the flanks of 
the hill, within a few feet of the alluvial plain of the Borne, 
a small tributary of the Loire, on the opposite bank of which 
stands the town of Le Puy. Its continuous extension to so 
low a level clearly shows that the valley had already been 
deepened to within a few feet of its present depth at the time 
of the flowing of the lava. 

We know that the alluvium of the same district, having a 
similar relation to the present geographical outline of the 
valleys, is of post-pliocene date, for it contains around Le Puy 
the bones of Elephas primigenius and Rhinoceros ticho- 
rhinus ; and this affords us a palseontological test of the age of 
the human skeleton of Denise, if the latter be assumed to be 
coeval with the lava stream above referred to. 

It is important to dwell on this point, because some geolo 
gists have felt disinclined to believe in the genuineness of 
the ' fossil man of Denise,' on the ground that, if conceded, 
it would imply that the human race was contemporary with 
an older fauna, or that of the Elephas meridionalis. Such a 
fauna is found fossil in another layer of tuff covering the slope 
of Denise, opposite to that where the museum specimen was 
exhumed. The quadrupeds obtained from that more ancient 
tuff comprise Elephas meridionalis, Hippopotamus major, 
Rhinoceros megarhinus, Antilope torticornis, Hycena brevi- 
rostris, and twelve others of the genera horse, ox, stag, goat, 
tiger, &c., all supposed to be of extinct species. This tuff, 
found between Malouteyre and Polignac, M. Robert regards 
as the product of a much older eruption, and referable to the 
neighbouring Montague de St. Anne, a volcano in a much 


more wasted and denuded state than Denise, and classed by 
M. Bertrand de Doue as of intermediate age between the 
ancient and modern cones of Velay. 

The fauna to which Elephas meridionalis and its associates 
belong, can be shown to be of anterior date, in the north of 
France, to the flint implements of St. Acheul, by the follow 
ing train of reasoning. The Valley of the Seine is not only 
geographically contiguous to the Valley of the Somme, but its 
ancient alluvium contains the same mammoth and other 
fossil species. The Eure, one of the tributaries of the Seine, 
in its way to join that river, flows in a valley which follows 
a line of fault in the chalk ; and this valley is seen to be 
comparatively modern, because it intersects at St. Prest, four 
miles below Chartres, an older valley belonging to an anterior 
system of drainage, and which has been filled by a more 
ancient fluviatile alluvium, consisting of sand and gravel, 
ninety feet thick. I have examined the site of this older drift, 
and the fossils have been determined by Dr. Falconer. They 
comprise Elephas meridionalis, a species of rhinoceros (not 
R. tichorhinus), and other mammalia differing from those 
of the implement-bearing gravels of the Seine and Somme. 
The latter, belonging to the period of the mammoth, 
might very well have been contemporary with the modern vol 
canic eruptions of Central France ; and we may presume, even 
without the aid of the Denise fossil, that man may have wit 
nessed these. But the tuffs and gravels in which the Elephas 
meridionalis are embedded were synchronous with an older 
epoch of volcanic action, to which the cone of St. Anne, near 
Le Puy, and many other mountains of M. Bertrand de Doue's 
middle period belong, having cones and craters, which have 
undergone much waste by aqueous erosion. We have as 
yet no proof that man witnessed the origin of these hills of 
lava and scoriae of the middle phase of volcanic action. 

Some surprise was expressed in 1856, by several of the 


assembled naturalists at Le Puy, that the skull of the c fossil 
man of Denise,' although contemporary with the mammoth, 
and coeval with the last eruptions of the Le Puy volcanoes, 
should be of the ordinary Caucasian or European type ; but 
the observations of Professor Huxley on the Engis skull, 
cited in the fifth chapter, showing the near approach of that 
ancient cranium to the European standard, will help to 
remove this source of perplexity. 

Human Fossil of Natchez on the Mississippi. 

I have already alluded to Dr. Bowler's attempt to calculate, 
in years, the antiquity of the human skeleton said to have 
been buried under four cypress forests in the delta of the 
Mississippi, near New Orleans (see page 43). In that case 
no remains of extinct animals were found associated with 
those of man : but in another part of the basin of the 
Mississippi, a human bone, accompanied by bones of the 
mastodon and megalonyx, is supposed to have been washed 
out of a more ancient alluvial deposit. 

After visiting the spot in 1846, I described the geological 
position of the bones, and discussed their probable age, with 

Fig. 26 

1 Modern alluvium of the Mississippi. 2 Loam or loess. 

3, / Eocene. 4 Cretaceous. 

a stronger bias, I must confess, as to the antecedent improba 
bility of the contemporaneous entombment of man and 
the mastodon than any geologist would now be justified in 

In the latitude of Vicksburg 32 50' N., the broad, flat, 
alluvial plain of the Mississippi, a b, fig. 26, is bounded on 


its eastern side by a table-land, d e, about two hundred feet 
higher than the river, and extending twelve miles eastward 
with a gentle upward slope. This elevated platform ends 
abruptly at d, in a line of perpendicular cliffs or bluffs, the 
base of which is continually undermined by the great river. 

The table-land, d e, consists at Vicksburg, through which 
the annexed section, fig. 26, passes, of loam, overlying the 
tertiary strata, //. Between the loam and the tertiary for 
mation there is usually a deposit of stratified sand and 
gravel, containing large fragments of silicified corals and 
the wreck of older palaeozoic rocks. The age of this inter 
vening drift, which is one hundred and forty feet thick at 
Natchez, has not yet been determined ; but it may possibly 
belong to the glacial period. Natchez is about eighty miles in 
a straight line south of Vicksburg, on the same left bank of 
the Mississippi. Here there is a bluff, the upper sixty feet 
of which consists of a continuous portion of the same calcareous 
loam as at Vicksburg, equally resembling the Ehenish loess 
in mineral character and in being sometimes barren of fossils, 
sometimes so full of them that bleached land-shells stand 
out conspicuously in relief in the vertical and weathered 
face of cliffs which form the banks of streams, everywhere 
intersecting the loam. 

So numerous are the shells that I was able to collect at 
Natchez, in a few hours, in 1846, no less than twenty species 
of the genera Helix, Helicina, Pupa, Cydostoma, Achatina, 
and Succinea, all identical with shells now living in the same 
country ; and in one place I observed (as happens also occa 
sionally in the valley of the Ehine) a passage of the loam 
with land-shells into an underlying marly deposit of sub 
aqueous origin, in which shells of the genera Limnea, 
Planorbis, Paludina, Physa, and Cyclas, were embedded, 
also consisting of recent American species. Such deposits, 
more distinctly stratified than the loam . containing land- 


shells, are produced, as before stated, p. 129, in all great 
alluvial plains, where the river shifts its position, and where 
marshes, ponds, and lakes are formed in its old deserted 
channels. In this part of America, however, it may have 
happened that some of these lakes were caused by partial 
subsidences, such as were witnessed, during the earthquakes 
of 1811-12, around New Madrid, in the valley of the 

Owing to the destructible nature of the yellow loam, d e, 
fig. 26, every streamlet flowing over the platform has 
cut for itself, in its way to the Mississippi, a deep gully or 
ravine ; and this erosion has of late years, especially since 1812, 
proceeded with accelerated speed, ascribable in some degree 
to the partial clearing of the native forest, but partly also to 
the effects of the earthquake of 1811-12. By that con 
vulsion the region around Natchez was rudely shaken and 
much fissured. One of the narrow valleys near Natchez, due 
to this fissuring, is now called the Mammoth Ravine. Though 
no less than seven miles long, and in some parts sixty feet 
deep, I was assured by a resident proprietor, Colonel Wiley, 
that it had no existence before 1812. With its numerous 
ramifications, it is said to have been entirely formed since 
the earthquake at New Madrid. Before that event, Colonel 
Wiley had ploughed some of the land exactly over a spot 
now traversed by part of this water-course. 

I satisfied myself that the ravine had been considerably en 
larged and lengthened a short time before my visit, and it 
was then freshly undermined and undergoing constant waste. 
From a clayey deposit immediately below the yellow loam, 
bones of the Mastodon ohioticus, a species of megalonyx, 
bones of the genera Equus, Bos, and others, some of extinct 
and others presumed to be of living species, had been 
detached, and had fallen to the base of the cliffs. Mingled 
with the rest, the pelvic bone of a man., os innominatum, 


was obtained by Dr. Dickeson of Natchez, in whose collection 
I saw it. It appeared to be quite in the same state of pre 
servation, and was of the same black colour as the other 
fossils, and was believed to have come like them from a depth 
of about thirty feet from the surface. In my ( Second Visit 
to America,' in 1846,* I suggested, as a possible explanation 
of this association of a human bone with remains of a mastodon 
and megalonyx, that the former may possibly have been 
derived from the vegetable soil at the top of the cliff, whereas 
the remains of extinct mammalia were dislodged from a lower 
position, and both may have fallen into the same heap or talus 
at the bottom of the ravine. The pelvic bone might, I con 
ceived, have acquired its black colour by having lain for 
years or centuries in a dark superficial peaty soil, common 
in that region. I was informed that there were many human 
bones, in old Indian graves in the same district, stained of as 
black a die. On suggesting this hypothesis to Colonel Wiley, 
of Natchez, I found that the same idea had already occurred 
to his mind. No doubt, had the pelvic bone belonged to any 
recent mammifer other than man, such a theory would never 
have been resorted to; but so long as we have only one 
isolated case, and are without the testimony of a geologist who 
was present to behold the bone when still engaged in the matrix, 
and to extract it with his own hands, it is allowable to suspend 
our judgment as to the high antiquity of the fossil. 

If, however, I am asked whether I consider the Natchez 
loam, with land-shells and the bones of mastodon and 
megalonyx, to be more ancient than the alluvium of the 
Somme containing flint implements and the remains of the 
mammoth and hyaena, I must declare that I do not. Both 
in Europe and America the land and freshwater shells accom 
panying the extinct pachyderms are of living species, and I 
could detect no shell in the Natchez loam so foreign to the 

* Vol. ii. p. 197. 


basin of the Mississippi as is the Cyrena fluminalis to the 
rivers of modern Europe. If, therefore, the relative ages of 
the Picardy and Natchez alluvium were to be decided on 
conchological data alone, the fluvio-marine beds of Abbeville 
might rank as a shade older than the loess of Natchez. My 
reluctance in 1846 to regard the fossil human bone as of post- 
pliocene date arose in part from the reflection that the ancient 
loess of Natchez is anterior in time to the whole modern 
delta of the Mississippi. The table-land, d e, fig. 26, p. 200, 
was, I believe, once a part of the original alluvial plain or 
delta of the great river before it was upraised. It has now 
risen more than two hundred feet above its pristine level. 
After the upheaval, or during it, the Mississippi cut through 
the old fluviatile formation of which its bluffs are now 
formed, just as the Ehine has in many parts of its valley ex 
cavated a passage through its ancient loess. If I was right 
in calculating that the present delta of the Mississippi has 
required, as a minimum of time, more than one hundred 
thousand years for its growth,* it would follow, if the claims 
of the Natchez man to have coexisted with the mastodon are 
admitted, that North America was peopled more than a thou 
sand centuries ago by the human race. But even were that 
true, we could not presume, reasoning from ascertained 
geological data, that the Natchez bone was anterior in data 
to the antique flint hatchets of St. Acheul. When we ascend 
the Mississippi from Natchez to Vicksburg, and then enter 
the Ohio, we are accompanied everywhere by a continuous 
fringe of terraces of sand and gravel at a certain height above 
the alluvial plain, first of the great river, and then of its 
tributary. We also find that the older alluvium contains the 
remains of mastodon everywhere, and in some places, as at 
Evansville, those of the megalonyx. As in the valley of the 
Somme in Europe, those old post-pliocene gravels often occur 

* See Principles of Geology. 


at more than one level, and the ancient mounds of the Ohio, 
with their works of art, described at p. 39, are newer than 
the old terraces of the mastodon period, just as the (rallo- 
Koman tombs of St. Acheul or the Celtic weapons of the 
Abbeville peat are more modern than the tools of the mam 
moth-bearing alluvium. 

In the first place, I may remind the reader that the vertical 
movement of two hundred and fifty feet, required to elevate 
the loess of Natchez to its present height, is exceeded by the 
upheaval which the marine stratum of Cagliari, containing 
pottery, has been ascertained by Count de la Marmora to have 
experienced, p. 177. Such changes of level, therefore, have 
actually occurred in Europe in the human epoch, and may 
therefore have happened in America. In the second place, I 
may observe that, if, since the Natchez mastodon was embedded 
in clay, the delta of the Mississippi has been formed, so, since 
the mammoth and rhinoceros of Abbeville and Amiens were 
enveloped in fluviatile mud and gravel, together with flint 
tools, a great thickness of peat has accumulated in the Valley 
of the Somme ; and antecedently to the first growth of peat, 
there had been time for the extinction of a great many mam 
malia, requiring, perhaps, as shown at p. 144, a lapse of 
ages many times greater than that demanded for the for 
mation of thirty feet of peat, for since the earliest growth of 
the latter there has been no change in the species of mammalia 
in Europe. 

Should future researches, therefore, confirm the opinion 
that the Natchez man coexisted with the mastodon, it would 
not enhance the value of the geological evidence in favour of 
man's antiquity, but merely render the delta of the Mississippi 
available as a chronometer, by which the lapse of post-pliocene 
time could be measured somewhat less vaguely than by any 
means of measuring which have as yet been discovered or 
rendered available in Europe. 















THEEQUENT allusions have been made in the preceding 
J- pages to a period called the glacial, to which no refe 
rence is made in the Chronological Table of Formations given 
at p. 7. It comprises a long series of ages, chiefly of post- 
tertiary date, during which the power of cold, whether exerted 
by glaciers on the land, or by floating ice on the sea, was 
greater in the northern hemisphere, and extended to more 
southern latitudes than now. 

It often happens that when in any given region we have 
pushed back our geological investigations as far as we can, in 
search of evidence of the first appearance of man in Europe, 
we are stopped by arriving at what is called the e boulder 
clay ' or * northern drift.' This formation is usually quite 
destitute of organic remains, so that the thread of our in 
quiry into the history of the animate creation, as well as of 
man, is abruptly cut short. The interruption, however, is by 


no means encountered at the same point of time in every 
district. In the case of the Danish peat, for example, we 
get no farther back than the recent period of our Chrono 
logical Table (p. 7), and then meet with the boulder clay ; 
and it is the same in the valley of the Clyde, where the 
marine strata contain the ancient canoes before described 
(p. 47), and where nothing intervenes between that recent for 
mation and the glacial drift. But we have seen that, in the 
neighbourhood of Bedford (p. 155), the memorials of man can 
be traced much farther back into the past, namely, into the 
post-pliocene epoch, when the human race was contemporary 
with the mammoth and many other species of mammalia 
now extinct. Nevertheless, in Bedfordshire as in Denmark, 
the formation next antecedent in date to that containing the 
human implements is still a member of the glacial drift, 
with its erratic blocks. 

If the reader remembers what was stated in the Eighth 
Chapter, p. 144, as to the absence or extreme scarcity of 
human bones and works of art in all strata, whether marine 
or fresh-water, even in those formed in the immediate prox 
imity of land inhabited by millions of human beings, he will 
be prepared for the general dearth of human memorials in 
glacial formations, whether recent, post-pliocene, or of more 
ancient date. If there were a few wanderers over lands 
covered with glaciers, or over seas infested with ice-bergs, 
and if a few of them left their bones or weapons in moraines 
or in marine drift, the chances, after the lapse of thousands of 
years, of a geologist meeting with one of them must be infini- 
tesimally small. 

It is natural, therefore, to encounter a gap in the. regular 
sequence of geological monuments bearing on the past history 
of man, wherever we have proofs of glacial action having 
prevailed with intensity, as it has done over large parts of 
Europe and North America, in the post-pliocene period. As 


we advance into more southern latitudes approaching the 
50th parallel of latitude in Europe, and the 40th in North 
America, this disturbing cause ceases to oppose a bar to our 
inquiries ; but even then, in consequence of the fragmentary 
nature of all geological annals, our progress is inevitably slow 
in constructing any thing like a connected chain of history, 
which can only be effected by bringing the links of the chain 
found in one area to supply the information which is wanting 
in another. 

The least interrupted series of consecutive documents to 
which we can refer in the British Islands, when we desire to 
connect the tertiary with the post-tertiary periods, are found 
in the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex ; and I shall 
speak of them in this chapter, as they have a direct bearing 
on the relations of the human and glacial periods, which will 
be the subject of several of the following chapters. The 
fossil shells of the deposits in question clearly point to a 
gradual refrigeration of climate, from a temperature some 
what warmer than that now prevailing in our latitudes to one 
of intense cold ; and the successive steps which have marked 
the coming on of the increasing cold are matters of no small 
geological interest. 

It will be seen in the Table at p. 7, that next before the 
post-tertiary period stands the pliocene, divided into the 
older and newer. The shelly and sandy beds representing 
these periods in Norfolk and Suffolk are termed provincially 
Crag, having under that name been long used in agriculture 
to fertilise soils deficient in calcareous matter, or to render 
them less stiff and impervious. In Suffolk, the older pliocene 
strata called Crag are divisible into the Coralline and the 
Eed Crags, the former being the older of the two. In Norfolk, 
a more modern formation, commonly termed the 6 Norwich,' 
or sometimes the < mammalif erous ' Crag, which is referable to 
the newer pliocene period, occupies large areas. 




We are indebted to Mr. Searles Wood, F.Gr.S., for an 
admirable monograph on the fossil shells of these British 
pliocene formations. He has not himself given us an ana 
lysis of the results of his treatise, but the following tables have 
been drawn up for me by Mr. S. P. Woodward, the well- 
known author of the 6 Manual of the Mollusca, Eecent and 
Fossil' (London, 1853-6), in order to illustrate some of the 
general conclusions to which Mr. Wood's careful examination 
of 442 species of mollusca has led. 

Number of known Species of Marine Testacea in the three English 
Pliocene Deposits, called the Norwich, the Red, and the Coralline 








Distribution of the above Marine Testacea. 

Number of Species. 

Norwich Crag . . . .81 

Bed Crag .... . . 225 

Coralline Crag . . .327 

Species common to the 
Norwich and Ked Crag (not in Cor. ) 33 
Norwich and Coralline ( not in Ked) 4 
Ked and Coralline (not in Norwich) 116 
Norwich, Ked, and Coralline . 19* 

Proportion of Eecent to Extinct Species. 

Norwich Crag . . . .69 

Ked Crag 130 

Coralline Crag . . . .168 




Per-centage of 





Recent Species not living now in British Seas. 

Norwich Crag 
Ked Crag 
Coralline Crag 

Northern Species. 
. 12 
. 8 





* These 19 species must be added to the numbers 33, 4, and 116 respectively 
in order to obtain the full amount of common species in each of those cases. 


In the above list I have not included the shells of the 
glacial beds of the Clyde and of several other British deposits 
of newer origin than the Norwich Crag, in which nearly all 
perhaps all the species are recent. The land and fresh 
water shells, thirty-two in number, have also been purposely 
omitted, as well as three species of London Clay shells, sus 
pected by Mr. Wood himself to be spurious. 

By far the greater number of the recent marine species 
included in these tables are still inhabitants of the British 
seas ; but even these differ considerably in their relative 
abundance, some of the commonest of the Crag shells being 
now extremely scarce; as, for example, Buccinum Dalei, 
and others, rarely met with in a fossil state, being now very 
common, as Murex erinaceus and Cardium echinatum. 

The last table throws light on a marked alteration in the 
climate of the three successive periods. It will be seen that 
in the Coralline Crag there are twenty-seven southern shells, 
including twenty-six Mediterranean, and one West Indian 
species (JErato Maugerice). Of these only thirteen occur in 
the Eed Crag, associated with three new southern species, 
while the whole of them disappear from the Norwich beds. 
On the other hand, the Coralline Crag contains only two arctic 
shells, Admete viridula and Limopsis pygmcea ; whereas 
the Eed Crag contains, as stated in the table, eight northern 
species, all of which recur in the Norwich Crag, with the 
addition of four others, also inhabitants of the arctic regions ; 
so that there is good evidence of a continual refrigeration of 
climate during the pliocene period in Britain. The presence 
of these northern shells cannot be explained away by sup 
posing that they were inhabitants of the deep parts of the 
sea; for some of them, such as Tellina calcarea and Astarte 
borealis, occur plentifully, and sometimes with the valves 
united by their ligament, in company with other littoral shells, 
such as Mya arenaria and Littorina rudis, and evidently 


not thrown up from deep water. Yet the northern character 
of the Norwich Crag is not fully shown by simply saying that 
it contains twelve northern species, now no longer found in 
British seas, since several boreal shells which still linger in 
the Scottish deeps do not abound there as they did in the 
latter days of the Crag period. It is the predominance of 
certain genera and species which satisfies the mind of a 
conch ologist as to the arctic character of the Norwich Crag. 
In like manner, it is the presence of such genera as Pyrula, 
Columbella, Terebra, Cassidaria, Pholadomya, Lingula, 
Discina, and others which give a southern aspect to the 
Coralline Crag shells. 

The cold, which had gone on increasing from the time of 
the Coralline to that of the Norwich Crag, continued, though 
not perhaps without some oscillations of temperature, to 
become more and more severe after the accumulation of the 
Norwich Crag, until it reached its maximum in what has been 
called the glacial epoch. The marine fauna of this last 
period contains, both in Ireland and Scotland, recent species 
of mollusca now living in Greenland and other seas far north 
of the areas where we find their remains in a fossil state. 

The refrigeration of climate from the time of the older 
to that of the newer Pliocene strata is not now announced 
for the first time, as it was inferred from a study of the Crag 
shells in 1846 by the late Edward Forbes.* 

The most southern point to which the marine beds of the 
Norwich Crag have yet been traced is at Chillesford, near 
Woodb ridge, in Suffolk, about eighty miles north-east of 
London, where, as Messrs. Prestwich and Searles Wood have 
pointed out,f they exhibit decided marks of having been 
deposited in a sea of a much lower temperature than that now 
prevailing in the same latitude. Out of twenty-three shells 

* Manual of Geological Survey, f Quarterly Geological Journal, 

London, 1846, p. 391. 1849, vol. v. p. 345. 

P 2 


obtained in that locality from argillaceous strata twenty feet 
thick, two only, namely, Nucula Cobboldice and Tellina 
obliqua, are extinct, and not a few of the other species, such 
as Leda arctica, Cardium groenlandicum, Lucina borealis, 
Cyprina islandica, Panopcea norvegica, and Mya truncata, 
betray a northern, and some of them an arctic character. 

These Chillesford beds are supposed to be somewhat more 
modern than any of the purely marine strata of the Norwich 
Crag exhibited by the sections of the Norfolk cliffs NW. of 
Cromer, which I am about to describe. Yet they probably 
preceded in date the ' Forest Bed ' and fluvio-marine deposits 
of those same cliffs. They are, therefore, of no small im 
portance in reference to the chronology of the glacial period, 
since they afford evidence of an assemblage of fossil shells 
with a proportion of between eight and nine in a hundred of 
extinct species occurring so far south as lat. 53 N., and indi 
cating so cold a climate as to imply that the glacial period 
commenced before the close of the newer pliocene era. 

The annexed section will give a general idea of the ordinary 
succession of the newer pliocene and post-pliocene strata which 
rest upon the chalk in the Norfolk and Suffolk cliffs. These 
cliffs vary in height from fifty to above three hundred feet. 
At the north-western extremity of the section at Weybourne 
(beyond the limits of the annexed diagram), and from thence 
to Cromer, a distance of seven miles, the Norwich crag, a marine 
deposit, reposes immediately upon the chalk. A vast majority 
of its shells are of living species now inhabiting the British 
seas, such as Cardium edule, Cyprina islandica, and Scalaria 
groenlandica, and some few extinct, as Fusus striatus, Tellina 
obliqua^ and Nucula Cobboldice. At Cromer jetty this for 
mation thins out, as expressed in the diagram at A ; and to the 
south we find No. 3, or what is commonly called the ' Forest 
Bed,' reposing immediately upon the chalk, and occupying as 
it were the place previously held by the marine crag No. 2. 





iiiii C 




co i^ 


This buried forest has been traced for more than forty miles, 
being exposed at certain seasons and states of the beach 
between high and low water mark. It extends from Cromer 
to near Kessingland, and consists of the stumps of numerous 
trees standing erect, with their roots attached to them, and 
penetrating in all directions into the loam or ancient vegetable 
soil on which they grew. They mark the site of a forest which 
existed there for a long time, since, besides the erect trunks of 
trees, some of them two and three feet in diameter, there is a 
vast accumulation of vegetable matter in the immediately 
overlying clays. Thirty years ago, when I first examined this 
bed, I saw many trees, with their roots in the old soil, laid 
open at the base of the cliff near Happisburgh ; and long 
before my visit, other observers, and among them the late 
Mr. J. C. Taylor, had noticed the buried forest. Of late 
years it has been repeatedly seen at many points by 
Mr. Grunn, and, after the great storms of the autumn of 1861, 
by Mr. King. In order to expose the stumps to view, a vast 
body of sand and shingle must be cleared away by the force 
of the waves. 

As the sea is always gaining on the land, new sets of trees 
are brought to light from time to time, so that the breadth 
as well as length of the area of ancient forest land seems to 
have been considerable. Next above No. 2, we find a series 
of sands and clays with lignite (No. 3'), sometimes ten feet 
thick, and containing alternations of fluviatile and marine 
strata, implying that the old forest land, which may at first 
have been considerably elevated above the level of the sea, 
had sunk down so as to be occasionally overflowed by a river, 
and at other times by the salt waters of an estuary. There 
were probably several oscillations of level which assisted in 
bringing about these changes, during which trees were often 
uprooted and laid prostrate, giving rise to layers of lignite. 
Occasionally marshes were formed and peaty matter accumu- 


lated, after which salt water again predominated, so that 
species of Mytilus, My a, Leda, and other marine genera, 
lived in the same area where the Unio, Cyclas, and Paludina 
had nourished for a time. That the marine shells lived and 
died on the spot, an$ were not thrown up by the waves during 
a storm, is proved, as Mr. King has remarked, by the fact 
that at West Eunton, NW. of Cromer, the My a truncata 
and Leda myalis are found with both valves united and 
erect in the loam, all. with their posterior or siphun- 
cular extremities uppermost. This attitude affords as good 
evidence to the conchologist that those mollusca lived and 
died on the spot as the upright position of the trees proves to 
the botanist that there was a forest over the chalk east of 

Between the stumps of the buried forest, and in the lignite 
above them, are many well-preserved cones of the Scotch and 
spruce firs, Pinus sylvestris, and Pinus Abies. The specific 
names of these fossils were determined for me in 1840, by a 
botanist of no less authority than the late Kobert Brown ; and 
Professor Heer has lately examined a large collection from 
the same stratum, and recognised among the cones of the 
spruce some which had only the central part or axis remain 
ing, the rest having been bitten off, precisely in the same 
manner as when in our woods the squirrel has been feeding 
on the seeds. There is also in the forest-bed a great quan 
tity of resin in lumps, resembling that gathered for use, 
according to Professor Heer, in Switzerland, from beneath 
spruce firs. 

The following is a list of some of the plants which were 
collected by the Rev, S. Gr. King, in 1861, from the forest bed, 
and named by Professor Heer : 

Pinus sylvestris, Scotch fir . . Mundesley. 
Pinus Abies , spruce fir ... 


Taxus baccata, yew . . . Mundesley. 

Prunus spinosa, common sloe . 

Menyanthes trifoliata, buckbean . 

Nymphcea alba, white water-lily . 

Nuphar luteum, yellow water-lily . 

Ceratophyllum demorsum, hornwort . 

Potamogeton, pondweed ... 

Alnus, alder . - . . . Bacton. 

Quercus, oak .... 

The insects, so far as they are known, including several 
species of Donacea, are, like the plants and freshwater shells, 
of living species. It may be remarked, however, that the 
Scotch fir has been confined in historical times to the northern 
parts of the British isles, and the spruce fir is nowhere in 
digenous in Great Britain. The other plants are such as 
might now be found in Norfolk, and many of them indicate 
fenny or marshy ground. 

When we consider the familiar aspect of the flora, the 
accompanying mammalia are certainly most extraordinary. 
There are no less than two elephants, a rhinoceros and 
hippopotamus, a large extinct beaver, and several large 
estuarian and marine mammalia, such as the walrus, the 
narwhal, and the whale. 

The following is a list of some of the species of which the 
bones have been collected by Messrs. Gunn and King, and 
named by Dr. Falconer and other geologists : 

Mammalia of the Forest and Lignite Beds below the Glacial 
Drift of the Norfolk Cliffs. 

Elephas meridionalis. 
Elephas primigenius var. 
Elephas antiquus. 
Eh >-nocero8 etruscus. 


Hippopotamus (major ?). 


Equus (fossilis ?). 


Cervus Capreolus ? and other species of Cervus. 

Arvicola amphibia. 

Castor trogontherium. 

Castor europceus. 

Narwhal, walrus, and large whale, or Balcenoptera ? 

Mr. Gunn informs me that two large whales were found in 
the fluvio-marine beds at Bacton, and that the vertebraB of 
one of them, shown to Professor Owen, were said by him to 
imply that the animal was sixty feet long. A narwhal's tusk 
was discovered by Mr. King near Cromer, and the remains of 
a walrus. No less than three species of elephant, as deter 
mined by Dr. Falconer, have been obtained from the strata 
3 and 3', of which, according to Mr. King, E. meridionalis 
is the most common, the mammoth next in abundance, and 
the third, E. antiquus, comparatively rare. 

The freshwater shells accompanying the fossil quadrupeds, 
above enumerated, are such as now inhabit rivers and ponds 
in England ; but among them, as at Runton, between the 
( forest bed ' and the glacial deposits, a remarkable variety 
of the Cydas amnica occurs, fig. 28, p. 218, identical with 
that which accompanies the Elephas antiquus at Ilford and 
Grays in the valley of the Thames. 

All the freshwater shells of the beds intervening between 
the forest-bed No. 3,' and the glacial formation 4, fig. 27, 
are of recent species. As to the small number of marine 
shells occurring in the same fluvio-marine series, I have seen 
none which belonged to extinct species, although one or two 
have been cited by authors. I am in doubt, therefore, 
whether to class the forest bed and overlying strata as post- 


pliocene, or to consider them as beds of passage between the 
newer pliocene and post-pliocene periods. The fluvio-marine 

Fig. 28 

Cyclas (Pisidium) amnica var. ? 
The two middle figures are of the natural size. 

series usually terminates upwards in finely laminated sands 
and clays without fossils, on which reposes the boulder clay. 

This formation, No. 4, is of very varying thickness. Its 
glacial character is shown, not only by the absence of stratifi 
cation, and the great size and angularity of some of the 
included blocks of distant origin, but also by the polished 
and scratched surfaces of such of them as are hard enough to 
retain any markings. 

Near Cromer, blocks of granite from six to eight feet in 
diameter have been met with, and smaller ones of sienite, 
porphyry, and trap, besides the wreck of the London clay, 
chalk, oolite, and lias, mixed with more ancient fossiliferous 
rocks. Erratics of Scandinavian origin occur chiefly in the 
lower portions of the till. I came to the conclusion in 1834, 
that they had really come from Norway and Sweden, after 
having in that year traced the course of a continuous stream 
of such blocks from those countries to Denmark, and across 
the Elbe, through Westphalia, to the borders of Holland. 
It is not surprising that they should then reappear on our 
eastern coast between the Tweed and the Thames, regions not 
half so remote from parts of Norway as are many Russian 
erratics from the sources whence they came. 

According to the observations of the Rev. J. Grunn and the 


late Mr. Trimmer, the glacial drift in the cliffs at Lowestoff 
consists of two divisions, the lower of which abounds in the 
Scandinavian blocks, supposed to have come from the 
north-east ; while the upper, probably brought by a current 
from the north-west, contains chiefly fragments of oolitic rocks, 
more rolled than those of the lower deposit. The united 
thickness of the two divisions without reckoning some 
interposed laminated beds, is eighty feet, but it probably ex 
ceeds one hundred feet near Happisburgh.* Although these 
subdivisions of the drift may be only of local importance, they 
help to show the changes of currents and other conditions, 
and the great lapse of time which the accumulation of so 
varied a series of deposits must have required. 

The lowest part of the glacial till, resting on the laminated 
clays before mentioned, is very even and regular, while its 
upper surface is remarkable for the unevenness of its outline, 
owing partly, in all likelihood, to denudation, but still more 
to other causes presently to be discussed. 

The overlying strata of sand and gravel, No. 5, p. 213, often 
display a most singular derangement in their stratification, 
which in many places seems to have a very intimate re 
lation to the irregularities of outline in the subjacent till. 
There are some cases, however, -where the upper strata are 
much bent, while the lower beds of the same series have con 
tinued horizontal. Thus the annexed section (fig. 29) 
represents a cliff about fifty feet high, at the bottom of which 
is till, or unstratified clay, containing boulders, having an 
even horizontal surface, on which repose conformably beds of 
laminated clay and sand about five feet thick, which, in their 
turn, are succeeded by vertical, bent, and contorted layers of 
sand and loam twenty feet thick, the whole being covered by 
flint gravel. The curves of the variously coloured beds of 

* Quarterly Geological Journal, vol. vii. p. 21. 




loose sand, loam, and pebbles, are so complicated that not 
only may we sometimes find portions of them which maintain 

Fig. 29 



Cliff 50 feet high between Bacton Gap and Mundesley. 

their verticality to a height of ten or fifteen feet, but they 
have also been folded upon themselves in such a manner 
that continuous layers might be thrice pierced in one perpen 
dicular boring. 

At some points there is an apparent folding of the beds 
round a central nucleus, as at a, fig. 30, where the strata seem 

Fig. 31 

Fig. 30 

Folding of the strata between 
East and West Kunton. 

Section of concentric beds west of Cromer. 

1 Blue clay. 3 Yellow sand. 

2 White sand. 4 Striped loam and clay. 

5 Laminated blue clay. 

bent round a small mass of chalk, or, as in fig. 31, where the 
blue clay, No. 1, is in the centre ; and where the other strata, 
2, 3, 4, 5, are coiled round it ; the entire mass being twenty 




feet in perpendicular height. This appearance of concentric 
arrangement around a nucleus is, nevertheless, delusive, being 
produced by the intersection of beds bent into a convex 
shape ; and that which seems the nucleus being, in fact, the 
innermost bed of the series, which has become partially visible 
by the removal of the protuberant portions of the outer 

To the north of Cromer are other fine illustrations of con 
torted drift reposing on a floor of chalk horizontally stratified 
and having a level surface. These phenomena, in themselves 
sufficiently difficult of explanation, are rendered still more 
anomalous by the occasional inclosure in the drift of huge 
fragments of chalk many yards in diameter. One striking 
instance occurs west of Sherringham, where an enormous 
pinnacle of chalk, between seventy and eighty feet in height, 
is flanked on both sides by vertical layers of loam, clay, and 
gravel (fig. 32). 

Fig. 32 

Included pinnacle of chalk at Old Hythe point, west of Sherringham. 

d Chalk with regular layers of chalk flints. 

c Layer called ' the pan,' of chalk, flints, and marine shells of recent 
species, cemented by oxide of iron. 

This chalky fragment is only one of many detached masses 
which have been included in the drift, and forced along with 


it into their present position. The level surface of the chalk 
in situ (d) may be traced for miles along the coast, where it 
has escaped the violent movements to which the incumbent 
drift has been exposed.* 

We are called upon, then, to explain how any force can 
have been exerted against the upper masses, so as to produce 
movements in which the subjacent strata have not partici 
pated. It may be answered that, if we conceive the till and 
its boulders to have been drifted to their present place by 
ice, the lateral pressure may have been supplied by the strand 
ing of ice-islands. We learn, from the observations of 
Messrs. Dease and Simpson in the polar regions, that such 
islands, when they run aground, push before them large 
mounds of shingle and sand. It is therefore probable that 
they often cause great alterations in the arrangement of pliant 
and incoherent strata forming the upper part of shoals or 
submerged banks, the inferior portions of the same remaining 
unmoved. Or many of the complicated curvatures of these 
layers of loose sand and gravel may have been due to another 
cause, the melting on the spot of icebergs and coast ice in 
which successive deposits of pebbles, sand, ice, snow, and mud, 
together with huge masses of rock fallen from cliffs, may have 
become interstratified. Ice-islands so constituted often cap 
size when afloat, and gravel once horizontal may have assumed, 
before the associated ice was melted, an inclined or vertical 
position. The packing of ice forced up on a coast may lead 
to a similar derangement in a frozen conglomerate of sand or 
shingle, and, as Mr. Trimmer has suggested, f alternate layers 
of earthy matter may have sunk down slowly during the 
liquefaction of the intercalated ice so as to assume the most 
fantastic and anomalous positions, while the strata below, 

* For a full account of the drift of 104, May, 1840. 

East Norfolk, see a paper by the f Quarterly Journal, Geological 

author, Philosophical Magazine, No. Society, vol. vii. pp. 22, 30. 


and those afterwards thrown down above, may be perfectly 
horizontal (see above). 

In most cases where the principal contortions of the layers 
of gravel and sand have a decided correspondence with deep 
indentations in the underlying till, the hypothesis of the 
melting of Jarge lumps and masses of ice once mixed up with 
the till affords the most natural explanation of the phenomena. 
The quantity of ice now seen in the cliffs near Behring's 
Straits, in which the remains of fossil elephants are common, 
and the huge fragments of solid ice which Meyendorf dis 
covered in Siberia, after piercing through a considerable 
thickness of incumbent soil, free from ice, is in favour of 
such an hypothesis, the partial failure of support necessarily 
giving rise to foldings in the overlying and previously hori 
zontal layers, as in the case of creeps in coal mines.* 

In the diagram of the cliffs at p. 213, the bent and con 
torted beds No. 5, last alluded to, are represented as covered 
by undisturbed beds of gravel and sand, No. 6. These are 
usually destitute of organic remains ; but at some points 
marine shells of recent species are said to have been found in 
them. They afford evidence at many points of repeated 
denudation and redeposition, and may be the monuments of 
a long series of ages. 

Mundesley Post-glacial Freshwater Formation. 

In the range of cliffs above described at Mundesley, about 
two miles south-east of Cromer, a fine example is seen of a 
freshwater formation, newer than all those already mentioned, 
a deposit which has filled up a depression hollowed out of all 
the older beds 3, 4, and 5, of the section, p. 213. 

When I examined this line of coast in 1839, the section 
alluded to was not so clearly laid open to view as it has 

* See Manual of Geology, by the author, p. 51. 




been of late years, and finding at that period not a few of the 
fossils in the lignite beds, No. 3', above the forest bed, iden 
tical in species with those from the post-glacial deposits, B c, 
I supposed the whole to have been of contemporaneous 

03 1 

Section of the newer freshwater formation in the cliffs at Mimdesley, two 
miles SE. of Cromer, drawn up by the Eev. S. W. King. 

Height of cliff where lowest, 35 feet above high water. 

Older Series. 
1 Fundamental chalk, below the beach line. 

3 Forest bed, with elephant, rhinoceros, stag, &c., and with tree roots 

and stumps, also below the beach line. 

3' Finely laminated sands and clays, with thin layer of lignite, and 
shells of Cyclas, and Valvata, and with Mytilus in some beds. 

4 Glacial boulder till. 

5 Contorted drift. 

6 Gravel overlying contorted drift. 

N.B. No. 2 of the section, fig. 27, at p. 213, is wanting here. 
Newer Freshwater Beds. 

A Coarse river gravel, in layers inclined against the till and laminated 

B Black peaty deposit, with shells of Anodon, Valvata, Cyclas, Suc- 
cinea, Limnea, Paludina, &c., seeds of Ceratophyllum demersum, 
Nuphar lutea, scales and bones of pike, perch, salmon, &c., 
elytra of Donacia, Copris, Harpalus, and other beetles. 

c Yellow sands. 

D Drift gravel 

origin, and so described them in my paper on the Norfolk 

Mr. Gunn was the first to perceive this mistake, which he 
explained to me on the spot when I revisited Mundesley in 
the autumn of 1859, in company with Dr. Hooker and 

* Philosophical Magazine, vol. xvi. May 1840, p. 345. 


Mr. King. The last-named geologist has had the kindness 
to draw up for me the annexed diagram of the various beds 
which he has recently studied in detail.* 

The formations 3, 4, and 5, already described, p. 213, were 
evidently once continuous, for they may be followed for. 
miles NW. and SE. without a break, and always in the same 
order. A valley or river channel was cut through them, pro 
bably during the gradual upheaval of the country, and the 
hollow became afterwards the receptacle of the comparatively 
modern freshwater beds, A, B, c, and D. They may well re 
present a silted up river-channel, which remained for a time 
in the state of a lake or mere, and in which the black peaty 
mass, B, accumulated by a very slow growth over the gravel 
of the river-bed A. . In B, we find remains of some of the 
same plants which were enumerated as common in the 
ancient lignite in 3', such as the yellow water-lily and pond- 
wort, together with some fresh water shells which occur in 
the same fluvio-marine series 3'. 

Fig. 34 

Paludina marginata Michaud. (P. minuta Strickland.) 
Hydrobia marginata.^ 

The middle figure is of the natural size. 

The only shell which I found not referable to a British spe 
cies is the minute paludina, fig. 34, already alluded to, p. 1 64. 

* Mr. Prestwich has given a correct one, as in Paludina), and therefore to 
account of this section in a paper read be referable to the Hydrobia, a sub- 
to the British Association, Oxford, genus of Eissoa. But this species is 
1860. See Geologist's Magazine, always associated with freshwater 
vol. iv. 1861. shells, while the Kissose frequent 

f This shell is said to have a sub- marine and brackish waters. 
spiral operculum (not a concentric 


When I showed the scales and teeth of the pike, perch, 
roach, and salmon, which I obtained from this formation, to 
Mr. Agassiz, he thought they varied so much from their 
nearest living representatives that they might rank as distinct 
species ; but Mr. Yarrell doubted the propriety of so distin 
guishing them. The insects, like the shells and plants, are 
identical, so far as they are known, with living British 
species. No progress has yet been made at Mundesley in dis 
covering the contemporary mammalia. 

By referring to the description and section of the freshwater 
deposit at p. 159, the reader will at once perceive the striking 
analogy of the Mundesley and Hoxne deposits, the latter so 
productive of flint implements of the Amiens type. Both of 
them, like the Bedford gravel with flint tools and the bones of 
extinct mammalia (noticed at p. 164), are postglacial. It 
will also be seen that a long series of events, accompanied by 
changes in physical geography, intervened between the ' forest 
bed,' No. 3, fig. 27, p. 213, when the Elephas meridionalis 
flourished, and the period of the Mundesley fluviatile beds 
A, B, c ; just as in France I have shown, p. 199, that the 
same E. meridionalis belonged to a system of drainage 
different from and anterior to that with which the flint im 
plements of the old alluvium of the Somme and the Seine 
were connected. 

Before the growth of the ancient forest, No. 3, fig. 33, the 
Mastodon arvernensis, a large proboscidian, characteristic of 
the Norwich crag, appears to have died out, or to have become 
scarce, as no remains of it have yet been found in the Norfolk 
cliffs. There was, no doubt, time for other modifications in 
the mammalian fauna between the era of the marine beds, 
No. 2, p. 213 (the shells of which imply permanent sub 
mergence beneath the sea), and the accumulation of the 
uppermost of the fluvio-marine, and lignite beds, No. 3', which 
overlie both Nos. 3 and 2, or the buried forest and the crag. 


In the interval we must suppose repeated oscillations of level, 
during which land covered with trees, an estuary with its 
freshwater shells, and the sea with its Mya truncata and 
other mollusca still retaining their erect position, gained by 
turns the ascendency. These changes were accompanied by 
some denudation followed by a grand submergence of several 
hundred feet, probably brought about slowly, and when 
floating ice aided in transporting erratic blocks from great 
distances. The glacial till, No. 4, then originated, and the 
gravel and sands, No. 5, were afterwards superimposed on 
the boulder clay, first in horizontal beds, which became sub 
sequently contorted. These were covered in their turn by 
other layers of gravel and sand, No. 6, pp. 213 and 224, the 
downward movement still continuing. 

The entire thickness of the beds above the chalk at some 
points near the coast, and the height at which they now are 
raised, are such as to show that the subsidence of the country 
after the growth of the forest bed, exceeded four hundred feet. 
The re-elevation must have amounted to nearly as many feet, 
as the site of the ancient forest, originally subaerial, has been 
brought up again to within a few feet of high-water mark. 
Lastly, after all these events, and probably during the final 
process of emergence, the valley was scooped out in which 
the newer freshwater strata of Mundesley, fig. 33, p. 224, were 
gradually deposited. 

Throughout the whole of this succession of geographical 
changes, the flora and invertebrate fauna of Europe appear 
to have undergone no important revolution in their specific 
characters. The plants of the forest bed belonged already to 
what has been called the Germanic flora. The mollusca, the 
insects, and even some of the mammalia, such as the European 
beaver and roebuck, were the same as those now coexisting 
with man. Yet the oldest memorials of our species at present 
discovered in Great Britain are post-glacial, or posterior in date 

Q 2 


to the boulder clay, No. 4, pp. 213 and 224. The position of the 
Hoxne flint implements corresponds with that of the Mundesley 
beds, from A to D, p. 224, and the most likely stratum in which 
to find hereafter flint tools is no doubt the gravel A of that 
section which has all the appearance of an old river-bed. No 
flint tools have yet been observed there, but had the old 
alluvium of Amiens or Abbeville occurred in the Norfolk 
cliffs instead of the Valley of the Somme, and had we de 
pended on the waves of the sea instead of the labour of many 
hundred workmen continued for twenty years, for exposing 
the flint implements to view, we might have remained ignorant 
to this day of the fossil relics brought to light by M. Boucher 
de Perthes, and those who have followed up his researches. 

Neither need we despair of one day meeting with the signs 
of man's existence in the forest bed No. 3, or in the overlying 
strata 3', on the ground of any uncongeniality in the climate 
or incongruity in the state of the animate creation with the 
well-being of our species. For the present we must be con 
tent to wait and consider that we have made no investigations 
which entitle us to wonder that the bones or stone weapons 
of the era of the Elephas meridionalis have failed to come 
to light. If any such lie hid in those strata, and should here 
after be revealed to us, they would carry back the antiquity 
of man to a distance of time probably more than twice as 
great as that which separates our era from that of the most 
ancient of the tool-bearing gravels yet discovered in Picardy, 
or elsewhere. But even then the reader will perceive that 
the age of man, though preglacial, would be so modern in 
the great geological calendar, as given at p. 7, that he would 
scarcely date so far back as the commencement of the post- 
pliocene period. 










THE chronological relations of the human and glacial pe 
riods were frequently alluded to in the last chapter, and 
the sections obtained near Bedford (p. 164), and at Hoxne, 
in Suffolk (p. 168), and a general view of the Norfolk cliffs, 
have taught us that the earliest signs of man's appearance in 
the British Isles, hitherto detected, are of post-glacial date, 
in the sense of being posterior to the grand submergence of 
England beneath the waters of the glacial sea. But long 
after that period, when nearly the whole of England North of 
the Thames and Bristol Channel lay submerged for ages, the 
bottom of the sea, loaded with mud and stones melted out of 
floating ice, was upheaved, and glaciers filled for a second 
time the valleys of many mountainous regions. We may now 
therefore inquire whether the peopling of Europe by the 
human race and by the mammoth and other mammalia 


now extinct, was brought about during this concluding phase 
of the glacial epoch. 

Although it may be impossible in the present state of our 
knowledge to come to a positive conclusion on this head, I 
know of no inquiry better fitted to clear up our views respec 
ting the geological state of the northern hemisphere at the 
time when the fabricators of the flint implements of the 
Amiens type flourished. I shall therefore now proceed to 
consider the chronological relations of that ancient people 
with the final retreat of the glaciers from the mountains of 
Scandinavia, Scotland, Wales, and Switzerland. 

Superficial Markings and Deposits left by Glaciers and 


In order fully to discuss this question, I must begin by re 
ferring to some of the newest theoretical opinions entertained 
on the glacial question. When treating of this subject in the 
'Principles of Geology,' ch. xv., and in the ' Manual (or Ele 
ments) of Greology,' ch. xi., I have stated that the whole mass 
of the ice in a glacier is in constant motion, and that the 
blocks of stone detached from boundary precipices, and the 
mud and sand swept down by avalanches of snow, or by rain 
from the surrounding heights, are lodged upon the surface 
and slowly borne along in lengthened mounds, called in 
Switzerland moraines. These accumulations of rocky frag 
ments and detrital matter are left at the termination of the 
glacier, where it melts in a confused heap called the ' terminal 
moraine,' which is unstratified, because all the blocks, large 
and small, as well as the sand and the finest mud, are carried 
to equal distances and quietly deposited in a confused mass 
without being subjected to the sorting power of running 
water, which would convey the finer materials farther than 
the coarser ones, and would produce, as the strength of the 


current varied from time to time in the same place, a stratified 

In those regions where glaciers reach the sea, and where 
large masses of ice break off and float away, moraines, such 
as I have just alluded to, may be transported to indefinite 
distances, and may be deposited on the bottom of the sea 
wherever the ice happens to melt. If the liquefaction takes 
place when the berg has run aground and is stationary, and 
if there be no current, the heap of angular and rounded stones, 
mixed with sand and mud, may fall to the bottom in an un- 
stratified form called 'till ' in Scotland, and which has been 
shown in the last chapter to abound in the Norfolk cliffs ; 
but should the action of a current intervene at certain points 
or at certain seasons, then the materials will be sorted as they 
fall, and arranged in layers according to their relative weight 
and size. Hence there will be passages from till to stratified 
clay, gravel, and sand, and intercalations of one in the other. 
Many of the blocks of stone with which the surfaces of glaciers 
are loaded, falling occasionally through fissures in the ice, get 
fixed and frozen into the bottom of the moving mass, and are 
pushed along under it. In this position, being subjected to 
great pressure, they scoop out long rectilinear furrows or 
grooves parallel to each other on the subjacent solid rock. 
Smaller scratches and striaB are made on the polished surface 
by crystals or projecting edges of the hardest minerals, just 
as a diamond cuts glass. 

In all countries the fundamental rock on which the boulder 
formation reposes, if it consists of granite, gneiss, marble, or 
other hard stone capable of permanently retaining any super 
ficial markings which may have been imprinted upon it, is 
smoothed or polished, and exhibits parallel stria3 and furrows 
having a determinate direction. This prevailing direction, 
both in Europe and North America, is evidently connected 
with the course taken by the erratic blocks in the same dis- 


trict, and is very commonly from north to south, or if it be 
twenty or thirty or more degrees to the east or west of north, 
still always corresponds to the direction in which the large 
angular and rounded stones have travelled. These stones 
themselves also are often furrowed and scratched on more 
than one side, like those already spoken of as occurring in 
the glacial drift of Bedford (p. 165), and in that of Norfolk 
(pp. 213 and 218). 

When we contemplate the area which is now exposed to 
the abrading action of ice, or which is the receptacle of mo 
raine matter thrown down from melting glaciers or bergs, we 
at once perceive that the submarine area is the most exten 
sive of the two. The number of large icebergs which float 
annually to great distances in the northern and southern 
hemisphere is extremely great, and the quantity of stone 
and mud which they carry about with them enormous. Some 
floating islands of ice have been met with from two to five 
miles in length, and from one hundred to two hundred and 
twenty-five feet in height above water, the submerged por 
tion, according to the weight of ice relatively to sea water, 
being from six to eight times more considerable than the part 
which is visible. Such masses, when they run aground on 
the bottom of the sea, must exert a prodigious mechanical 
power, and may polish and groove the subjacent rocks after 
the manner of glaciers on the land. Hence there will often 
be no small difficulty in distinguishing between the effects of 
the submarine and supramarine agency of ice. 

Scandinavia once covered with Ice, and a Centre of 
Dispersion of Erratics. 

In the north of Europe, along the borders of the Baltic, 
where the boulder formation is continuous for hundreds of 
miles east and west, it has been long known that the erratic 


blocks, often of very large size, are of northern origin. Some 
of them have come from Norway and Sweden, others from 
Finland, and their present distribution implies that they were 
carried southwards, for a part at least of their way, by floating 
ice, at a time when much of the area over which they are 
scattered was under water. But it appears from the obser 
vations of Boetlingk, in 1840, and those of more recent in 
quirers, that while many blocks have travelled to the south, 
others have been carried northwards, or to the shores of the 
Polar Sea, and others north-eastward, or to those of the White 
Sea. In fact, they have wandered towards all points of the 
compass, from the mountains of Scandinavia as a centre, and 
the rectilinear furrows imprinted by them on the polished 
surfaces of the mountains where the rocks are hard enough to 
retain such markings, radiate in all directions, or point out 
wards from the highest land, in a manner corresponding to 
the course of the erratics above mentioned. 

Before the glacial theory was adopted, the Swedish and 
Norwegian geologists speculated on a great flood, or the 
sudden rush of an enormous body of water charged with mud 
and stones, descending from the central heights or watershed 
into the adjoining lower lands. The erratic blocks were sup 
posed in their downward passage to have smoothed and 
striated the rock surfaces over which they were forced along. 

It would be a waste of time, in the present state of science, 
to controvert this hypothesis, as it is now admitted that even 
if the rush of a diluvial current, invented for the occasion 
and wholly without analogy in the known course of nature, 
be granted, it would be inadequate to explain the uniformity, 
parallelism, persistency, and rectilinearity of the so-called 
glacial furrows. It is moreover ascertained that heavy 
masses of rock, not fixed in ice, and moving as freely as they 
do when simply swept along by a muddy current, do not 
give rise to such scratches and furrows. 


M. Kjerulf, of Christiania, in a paper lately communicated 
to the Geological Society of Berlin,* has objected, and perhaps 
with reason, to what he considers the undue extent to which 
I have, in some of my writings, supposed the mountains of 
northern Europe to have been submerged during the glacial 
period. He remarks that the signs of glacial action on the 
Scandinavian mountains ascend as high as 6,000 feet, whereas 
fossil marine shells of the same period never reach elevations 
exceeding 600 feet. The land he says may have been much 
higher than it now is, but it has evidently not been much 
lower since the commencement of the glacial period, or marine 
shells would be traceable to more elevated points. In regard 
to the absence of marine shells, I shall point out in the se 
quel how small is the dependence we can place on this kind 
of negative evidence, if we desire to test by it the extent to 
which the land has been submerged. I cannot therefore con 
sent to limit the probable depression and re-elevation of 
Scandinavia to 600 feet. But that the larger part of the 
glaciation of that country has been supramarine, I am willing 
to concede. In support of this view M. Kjerulf observes that 
the direction of the furrows and striae, produced by glacial 
abrasion, neither conforms to a general movement of floating 
ice from the Polar regions, nor to the shape of the existing 
valleys, as it would do if it had been caused by independent 
glaciers generated in the higher valleys after the land had 
acquired its actual shape. Their general arrangement and 
apparent irregularities are, he contends, much more in accor 
dance with the hypothesis of there having been at one time 
a universal covering of ice over the whole of Norway and 
Sweden, like that now existing in Greenland, which, being 
annually recruited by fresh falls of snow, was continually 
pressing outwards and downwards to the coast and lower 
regions, after crossing many of the lower ridges, and having 

* Zeitschrift der G-eologischen G-esellschaft, Berlin, 1860. 


no relation to the minor depressions, which were all choked up 
with ice and reduced to one uniform level. 

Continental Ice of Greenland. 

In support of this view, he appeals to the admirable de 
scription of the continental ice of Greenland, lately published 
by Dr. H. Eink, of Copenhagen,* who resided three or four 
years in the Danish settlements, in Baffin's Bay, on the west 
coast of Greenland, between latitudes 69 and 73 N. ' In that 
country, the land,' says Dr. Eink, ' may be divided into two 
regions, the " inland " and the " outskirts." The " inland," 
which is 800 miles from west to east, and of much greater 
length from north to south, is a vast unknown continent, 
buried under one continuous and colossal mass of permanent 
ice, which is always moving seaward, but a small proportion 
only of it in an easterly direction, since nearly the whole de 
scends towards Baffin's Bay.' On reaching the heads of the 
fiords which intersect the coast, a perpendicular wall of ice, 
2,000 feet thick, is seen, beyond which the ice of the interior 
rises by a succession of steps, twenty-five of which were 
counted by Eink (but of which there are known to be still 
more), all of them leading up to as many icy platforms, the 
ridges and valleys being levelled up to one uniform plane, 
and concealed by these tabular masses of ice. 

Although all the ice is moving seaward, the greatest quan 
tity is discharged at the heads of certain large friths, usually 
about four miles wide, which, if the climate were milder, 
would be the outlet of as many great rivers. Through these 
the ice is now protruded in huge blocks, several miles wide, 
and from 1,000 to 1,500 feet in height or thickness. When 
these masses reach the friths, they do not melt or break up 
into fragments, but continue their course in a solid form 

* Journal of Royal Geographical Society, vol. xxiii. p. 145, 1853. 


under the salt water, grating along the rocky bottom, which 
they must polish and score at depths of hundreds and even of 
more than a thousand feet. At length, when there is water 
enough to float them, huge portions, having broken off, fill 
Baffin's Bay with icebergs of a size exceeding any which could 
be produced by ordinary land glaciers. Stones, sand, and 
mud are sometimes included in these bergs which float down 
Baffin's Bay. At some points, where the ice of the interior of 
Greenland reaches the coast, Dr. Eink saw mighty springs 
of clayey water issuing from under the edge of the ice even 
in winter, showing the grinding action of the glacial mass 
mixed with sand, on the subjacent surface of the rocks. 

The ' outskirts,' where the Danish colonies are stationed, 
consist of numerous islands, of which Disco island is the* 
largest, in lat. 70 N., and of many peninsulas, with fiords 
from fifty to a hundred miles long, running into the land, 
and through which the ice above alluded to passes on its 
way to the bay. This area is 30,000 square miles in extent, 
and contains in it some mountains 4,000 feet to 5,000 feet 
high. The perpetual snow usually begins at the height of 
2,000 feet, below which level the land is for the most part 
free from snow between June and August, and supports a 
vegetation of several hundred species of flowering plants, 
which ripen their seeds before the winter. There are even 
some places where phenogamous plants have been found at an 
elevation of 4,500 feet ; a fact which, when we reflect on the 
immediate vicinity of so large and lofty a region of conti 
nental ice in the same latitude, well deserves the attention of 
the geologist, who should also bear in mind, that while the 
Danes are settled to the west in the 'outskirts,* there exists, 
due east of the most southern portion of this ice-covered con 
tinent, at the distance of about 1,200 miles, the home of the 
Laplanders with their reindeer, bears, wolves, seals, walruses, 
and cetacea. If, therefore, there are geological grounds for 


suspecting that Scandinavia or Scotland or Wales were ever 
in the same glacial condition as Greenland now is, we must 
not imagine that the contemporaneous fauna and flora were 
everywhere poor and stunted, or that they may not, especially 
at the distance of a few hundred miles in a southward di 
rection, have been very luxuriant. 

Another series of observations made by Captain Graah, 
during a survey of Greenland between 1823 and 1829, and 
by Dr. Pingel in 1830-32, adds not a little to the geological 
interest of the ( outskirts,' in their bearing on glacial pheno 
mena of ancient date. Those Danish investigators, with one 
of whom, Dr. Pingel, I conversed at Copenhagen in 1834, 
ascertained that the whole coast from lat. 60 to about 70 north 
has been subsiding for the last four centuries, so that some 
ancient piles driven into the beach to support the boats of the 
settlers have been gradually submerged, and wooden build 
ings have had to be repeatedly shifted farther inland.* 

In Norway and Sweden, instead of such a subsiding move 
ment, the land is slowly rising ; but we have only to suppose 
that formerly, when it was covered like Greenland with conti 
nental ice, it sank at the rate of several feet in a century, 
and we shall be able to explain why marine deposits are 
found above the level of the sea, and why these generally 
overlie polished and striated surfaces of rock. 

We know that Greenland was not always covered with 
snow and ice, for when we examine the tertiary strata of 
Disco Island (of the upper miocene period) we discover there 
a multitude of fossil plants, which demonstrate that, like 
many other parts of the arctic regions, it formerly enjoyed a 
mild and genial climate. Among the fossils brought from 
that island, lat. 70 K, Professor Heer has recognised 
Sequoia Langsdorfii, a coniferous species which flourished 
throughout a great part of Europe in the miocene period, 

* Principles of Geology, cli. xxx. 


and is very closely allied to the living Sequoia sempervirens 
of California. The same plant has been found fossil by Sir 
John Eichardson within the arctic circle, far to the west on 
the Mackenzie Eiver, near the entrance of Bear Eiver, also by 
some Danish naturalists in Iceland to the east. The Ice 
landic surturbrand, or lignite, of this age has also yielded a 
rich harvest of plants, more than thirty-one of them, accord 
ing to Steenstrup and Heer, in a good state of preservation, 
and no less than fifteen specifically identical with miocene 
plants of Europe. Thirteen of the number are arborescent; 
and amongst others is a tulip-tree (Liriodendron), with its fruit 
and characteristic leaves, a plane (Platanus), a walnut, and a 
vine, affording unmistakeable evidence of a climate in the 
parallel of the arctic circle which precludes the supposition 
of glaciers then existing in the neighbourhood, still less any 
general crust of continental ice, like that of Greenland.* 

As the older pliocene flora of the tertiary strata of Italy, 
like the shells of the coralline crag, before adverted to, 
p. 210, indicate a temperature milder than that now prevail 
ing in Europe, though not so warm as that of the upper 
miocene period, it is probable that the accumulation of snow 
and glaciers on the mountains and valleys of Greenland did 
not begin till after the commencement of the pliocene period, 
and may not have reached its maximum until the close of 
that period. 

Norway and Sweden appear to have passed through all the 
successive phases of glaciation which Greenland has experi 
enced, and others which that country will one day undergo, if 
the climate which it formerly enjoyed should ever be restored 
to it. There must have been first a period of separate glaciers 
in Scandinavia, then a Greenlandic state of continental ice, and 
thirdly, when that diminished, a second period of enormous 
separate glaciers filling many a valley now wooded with fir and 

* Heer, Eeclierclies sur la Vegetation du Pays tertiaire, &c., 1861, p. 178. 


birch. Lastly, under the influence of the Grulf Stream, and 
various changes in the height and extent of land in the arctic 
circle, a melting of nearly all the permanent ice between lati 
tudes 60 and 70 north, corresponding to the parallels of the 
continental ice of Greenland, has occurred, so that we have now 
to go farther north than lat. 70 before we encounter any 
glacier coming down to the sea coast. Among other signs of 
the last retreat of the extinct glaciers, Kjerulf and other 
authors describe large transverse moraines left in many of the 
Norwegian and Swedish glens. 

Chronological Relations of the Human and Glacial 
Periods in Sweden. 

We may now consider whether any, and what part, of these 
changes in Scandinavia may have been witnessed by man. 
In Sweden, in the immediate neighbourhood of Upsala, I 
observed, in 1834, a ridge of stratified sand and gravel, in 
the midst of which occurs a layer of marl, evidently formed 
originally at the bottom of the Baltic, by the slow growth of 
the mussel, cockle, and other marine shells of living species 
intermixed with some proper to fresh water. The marine 
shells are all of dwarfish size, like those now inhabiting the 
brackish waters of the Baltic ; and the marl, in which myriads 
of them are imbedded, is now raised more than a hundred 
feet above the level of the Grulf of Bothnia. Upon the top 
of this ridge (one of those called osars in Sweden) repose 
several huge erratics, consisting of gneiss for the most part 
unrounded, from nine to sixteen feet in diameter, and which 
must have been brought into their present position since the 
time when the neighbouring gulf was already characterised 
by its peculiar fauna. Here, therefore, we have proof that 
the transport of erratics continued to take place, not merely 
when the sea was inhabited by the existing testacea, but 


when the north of Europe had already assumed that remark 
able feature of its physical geography, which separates the 
Baltic from the North Sea, and causes the Grulf of Bothnia 
to have only one-fourth of the saltness belonging to the 

I cannot doubt that these large erratics of Upsala were 
brought into their present position during the recent period, 
not only because of their moderate elevation above the sea- 
level in a country where the land is now rising every century, 
but because I observed signs of a great oscillation of level 
which had taken place at Sodertelje, south of Stockholm 
(about forty-five miles distant from Upsala), after the country 
had been inhabited by man. I described, in the 'Philosophical 
Transactions ' for 1835, the section there laid open in digging 
a level in 1819, which showed that a subsidence followed by a 
re-elevation of land, each movement amounting to more than 
sixty feet, had occurred since the time when a rude hut had 
been built on the ancient shore. The wooden frame of the 
hut, with a ring of hearthstones on the floor, and much charcoal, 
were found, and over them marine strata, more than sixty 
feet thick, containing the dwarf variety of Mytilus edulis, and 
other brackish -water shells of the Bothnian Gulf. Some vessels 
put together with wooden pegs, of anterior date to the use of 
metals, were also embedded in parts of the same marine for 
mation, which has since been raised, so that the upper beds 
are more than sixty feet above the sea-level, the hut being thus 
restored to about its original position relatively to the sea. 

We have seen in the account of the Danish ' shell-mounds,' 
or 4 refuse-heaps,' of the recent period (p. 13), that even at 
the comparatively late period of their origin the waters of 
the Baltic had been rendered more salt than they are now. 
The Upsala erratics may belong to nearly the same era as those 
* refuse-heaps.' But were we to go back to a long antecedent 
epoch, or to that of the Belgian and British caves with their 


extinct animals, and the signs they afford of a state of phy 
sical geography departing widely from the present, or to 
the era of the implement-bearing alluvium of St. Acheul, we 
might expect to find Scandinavia overwhelmed with glaciers, 
and the country uninhabitable by man. At a much remoter 
period the same country was in the state in which Greenland 
now is, overspread with one uninterrupted coating of conti 
nental ice, which has left its peculiar markings on the highest 
mountains. This period, probably anterior to the earliest 
traces yet brought to light of the human race, may have 
coincided with the submergence of England, and the accumu 
lation of the boulder-clay of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Bedford 
shire, before mentioned. It has already been stated that the 
syenite and some other rocks of the Norfolk till (p. 218) 
seem to have come from Scandinavia, and there is no era 
when icebergs are so likely to have floated them so far south 
as when the whole of Sweden and Norway were enveloped 
in a massive crust of ice ; a state of things the existence of 
which is deduced from the direction of the glacial furrows, 
and their frequent unconformity to the shape of the minor 

Glacial Period in Scotland. 

Mr. Eobert Chambers, after visiting Norway and Sweden, 
and comparing the signs of glacial action observed there 
with similar appearances in the Grampians, came to the con 
clusion that the Highlands both of Scandinavia and Scotland 
had once been ; moulded in ice,' and that the outward and 
downward movement and pressure of the frozen mass had 
not only smoothed, polished, and scratched the rocks, but 
had, in the course of ages, deepened and widened the valleys, 
and produced much of that denudation which has commonly 
been ascribed exclusively to aqueous action. The glaciation 



of the Scotch mountains was traced by him to the height of 
at least three thousand feet.* 

Professor Agassiz, after his tour in Scotland in 1840, 
announced the opinion that erratic blocks had been dispersed 
from the Scottish mountains as from an independent centre, 
and that the capping of ice had been of extraordinary 
thickness. Mr. T. F. Jamieson, of Ellon, in Aberdeenshire, 
has recently brought forward an additional body of facts in 
support of this theory. According to him the Grampians 
were at the period of extreme cold enveloped 'in one great 
winding sheet of snow and ice,' which reached everywhere 
to the coast-line, the land being then more elevated than it 
is now. He describes the glacial furrows sculptured on the 
solid rocks as pointing in Aberdeenshire to the south-east, 
those of the valley of the Forth at Edinburgh, from west to 
east, and higher up the same valley at Stirling, from north 
west to south-east, as they should do if the ice had followed 
the lines of what is now the principal drainage. The obser 
vations of Sir James Hall, Mr. Maclaren, Mr. Chambers, and 
Dr. Fleming, are cited by him in confirmation of this ar 
rangement of the glacial markings, while in Sutherland and 
Kossshire he shows that the glacial furrows along the north 
coast point northwards, and in Argyleshire westwards, always 
in accordance with the direction of the principal glens and 

Another argument is also adduced by him in proof of the 
ice having exerted its mechanical force in a direction from 
the higher and more inland country to the lower region and 
sea coast. Isolated hills and minor prominences of rock are 
often polished and striated on the land side, while they remain 
rough and jagged on the side fronting the sea. This may be 
seen both on the east and west coast, Mention is also made 

* Ancient Sea Margins, Edinburgh, New Philosophical Journal, April 
1848. Glacial Phenomena, Edinburgh 1853, and January 1855. 


of blocks of granite which have travelled from south to north 
in Aberdeenshire, of which there would have been no ex 
amples had the erratics been all brought by floating ice from 
the arctic regions when Scotland was submerged. It is also 
urged against the doctrine of attributing the general glacia- 
tion to submergence, that the glacial grooves, instead of ra 
diating as they do from a centre, would, if they had been due 
to ice coming from the north, have been parallel to the 
coast-line, to which they are now often almost at right 
angles. The argument, moreover, which formerly had most 
weight in favour of floating ice, namely, that it explained why 
so many of the stones did not conform to the contour and 
direction of the minor hills and valleys, is now brought 
forward, and with no small effect, in favour of the doctrine 
of continental ice on the Greenlandic scale, which, after 
levelling up the lesser inequalities, would occasionally flow in 
mighty ice-currents, in directions often at a high angle to 
the smaller ridges and glens. 

The application to Scandinavia and Scotland of this theory 
makes it necessary to reconsider the validity of the proofs 
formerly relied on as establishing the submergence of a great 
part of Scotland beneath the sea, at some period subsequent 
to the commencement of the glacial period. In all cases 
where marine shells overlie till, or rest on polished and 
striated surfaces of rock, the evidence of the land having been 
under water, and having been since upheaved, remains un 
shaken ; but this proof alone rarely extends to heights ex 
ceeding five hundred feet. In the basin of the Clyde we have 
already seen that recent strata occur twenty-five feet above 
the sea-level, with existing species of marine testacea, and with 
buried canoes, and other works of art. At the higher level 
of forty feet occurs the well-known raised beach of the western 
coast, which, according to Mr. Jamieson, contains, near 
Fort William and on Loch Fyne and elsewhere, an assem- 

E 2 


blage of shells implying a colder climate than that of the 
twenty-five foot terrace, or that of the present sea ; just as, in 
the Valley' of the Soinme, the higher level gravels are sup 
posed to belong to a colder period than the lower ones, and 
still more decidedly than that of the present era (see p. 142). 
At still greater elevations, older beds containing a still more 
arctic group of shells have been observed at Airdrie, fourteen 
miles south-east of Glasgow, 524 feet above the level of the 
sea. They were embedded in stratified clays, with the un- 
stratified boulder till both above and below them, and in the 
overlying unstratified drift were some boulders of granite 
which must have come from distances of sixty miles at the 
least.* The presence of Tellina calcarea, and several other 
northern shells, implies a climate colder than that of the present 
Scottish seas. In the north of Scotland, marine shells have 
been found in deposits of the same age in Caithness and in 
Aberdeenshire at heights of two hundred and fifty feet, and 
on the shores of the Moray Frith, as at Gramrie in Banff, at 
an elevation of three hundred and fifty feet ; and the stratified 
sands and beds of pebbles which belong to the same formation 
ascend still higher to heights of five hundred feet at least. f 
At much greater heights, stratified masses of drift occur in 
which hitherto no organic remains, whether of marine or 
freshwater animals., have ever been found. It is still an un 
decided question whether the origin of all such deposits in 
the G-rampians can be explained without the intervention of 
the sea. One of the most conspicuous examples has been 
described by Mr. Jamieson as resting on the flank of a hill 
called Meal Uaine, in Perthshire, on the east side of the valley 
of the Tummel, just below Killiecrankie. It consists of per- 

* Smith of Jordanhill, Quarterly ceedings of the Geological Society, 

Geological Journal, vol. vi. p. 387, vol. ii. p. 545 ; and T. F. Jamieson, 

1850. Geological Quarterly Journal, vol. 

f See papers by Prestwich, Pro- xvi. 


fectly horizontal strata, the lowest portion of them 300 feet 
above the river and 600 feet above the sea. From this 
elevation to an altitude of nearly 1,200 feet the same series 
of strata is traceable, continuously, up the slope of the moun 
tain, and some patches are seen here and there even as high as 
1,550 feet above the sea. They are made up in great part of 
finely laminated silt, alternating with coarser materials, through 
which stones from four to five feet in length are scattered. 
These large boulders, and some smaller ones, are polished on 
one or more sides, and marked with glacial striae. The sub 
jacent rocks, also, of gneiss, mica slate, and quartz, are every 
where grooved and polished as if by the passage of a glacier.* 

At one spot a vertical thickness of 130 feet of this series 
of strata is exposed to view by a mountain torrent, and in all 
more than 2,000 layers of clay, sand, and gravel were counted, 
the whole evidently accumulated under water. Some beds 
consist of an impalpable mud-like putty, apparently derived 
from the grinding down of felspar, and resembling the mud 
produced by the grinding action of modern glaciers. 

Mr. Jamieson, when he first gave an account of this drift, 
inferred, in spite of the absence of marine shells, that it 
implied the submergence of Scotland beneath the ocean after 
the commencement of the glacial period, or after the era of 
continental ice indicated by the subjacent floor of polished 
and grooved rock. This conclusion would require a submer 
gence of the land as far up as 1,550 feet above the present 
sea-level, after which a great re-upheaval must have occurred. 
But the same author, having lately revisited the valley of the 
Tummel, suggests another possible, and I think probable, 
explanation of the same phenomena. The stratified drift in 
question is situated in a deep depression between two but 
tresses of rock, and if an enormous glacier be supposed to 

* Jamieson, Geological Quarterly Journal, vol. xvi. p. 360. 


have once filled the valley of the Tummel to the height of the 
stratified drift, it may have dammed up the mouth of a 
mountain torrent by a transverse barrier, giving rise to a 
deep pond, in which beds of clay and sand brought down by 
the waters of the torrent were deposited. Charpentier in his 
work on the Swiss glaciers has described many such recep 
tacles of stratified matter now in progress, and due to such 
blockages, and he has pointed out the remnants of ancient 
and similar formations left by extinct glaciers of an earlier 
epoch. He specially notices that angular stones of various 
dimensions, often polished and striated, which rest on the 
glacier and are let fall when the torrent undermines the 
side of the moving ice, descend into the small lake and be 
come interstratified with the gravel and fine sediment brought 
down by the torrent into the same.* 

The evidence of the former sojourn of the sea upon the 
land after the commencement of the glacial period was for 
merly inferred from the height to which erratic blocks derived 
from distant regions could be traced, besides the want of 
conformity in the glacial furrows to the present contours of 
many of the valleys. Some of these phenomena may now, 
as we have seen, be accounted for by assuming that there was 
once a crust of ice resembling that now covering Greenland. 

The Grampians in Forfarshire and in Perthshire are from 
3,000 to 4,000 feet high. To the southward lies the broad 
and deep valley of Strathmore, and to the south of this 
again rise the Sidlaw Hills to the height of 1,500 feet and 
upwards. On the highest summits of this chain, formed of 
sandstone and shale, and at various elevations, I have 
observed huge angular fragments of mica-schist, some three 
and others fifteen feet in diameter, which have been conveyed 
for a distance of at least fifteen miles from the nearest 
Grampian rocks from which they could have been detached, 

* Charpentier, Essai sur les Glaciers, p. 63, 1841. 


Others have been left strewed over the bottom of the large 
intervening vale of Strathmore.* 

It may be argued that the transportation of such blocks 
may have been due not to floating ice, but to a period when 
Strathmore was filled up with land ice, a current of which ex 
tended from the Perthshire Highlands to the summit of the 
Sidlaw Hills, and the total absence of marine or freshwater 
shells from all deposits, stratified or unstratified, which have 
any connection with these erratics in Forfarshire and Perth 
shire may be thought to favour such a theory. 

But the same mode of transport can scarcely be imagined 
for those fragments of mica-schist, one of them weighing from 
eight to ten tons, which were observed much farther south 
by Mr. Maclaren on the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh, at 
the height of 1,100 feet above the sea, the nearest mountain 
composed of this formation being fifty miles distant.! On 
the same hills, also, at all elevations, stratified gravels occur 
which, although devoid of shells, it seems hardly possible to 
refer to any but a marine origin.f 

Although I am willing, therefore, to concede that the 
glaciation of the Scotch mountains, at elevations exceeding 
2,000 feet, may be explained by land ice, it seems difficult 
not to embrace the conclusion that a subsidence took place 
not merely of 500 or 600 feet, as demonstrated by the 
marine shells, but to a much greater amount, as shown by the 
present position of erratics and some patches of stratified drift. 
The absence of marine shells at greater heights than 525 feet 
above the sea, will be treated of in a future chapter. It may 
in part, perhaps, be ascribed to the action of glaciers, which 
swept out marine strata from all the higher valleys, after 
the re-emergence of the land. 

* Proceedings of the Geological f Maclaren, Geology of Fife, &c., 
Society, vol. iii. p. 344. p. 220. 


Latest Changes produced by Glaciers in Scotland. 

We may next consider the state of Scotland after its 
emergence from the glacial sea, when we cannot fail to 
be approaching the time when man coexisted with the 
mammoth and other mammalia now extinct. In a paper 
which I published in 1840, on the ancient glaciers of Forfar- 
shire, I endeavoured to show that some of these existed after 
the mountains and glens had acquired precisely their present 
shape,* and had left moraines even in the minor valleys, just 
where they would now leave them were the snow and ice 
again to gain ground. I described also one remarkable 
transverse mound, evidently the terminal moraine of a 
retreating glacier, which crosses the valley of the South Esk, 
a few miles above the point where it issues from the 
Grampians, and about six miles below the town of Clova. It 
is situated at a place called Grlenairn (perhaps 700 feet 
above the level of the sea), where the valley is half a mile 
broad and is bounded by steep and lofty mountains. The 
valley immediately above this transverse barrier expands 
into a wide alluvial plain, which has evidently once been a 
lake. The barrier itself, nearly 200 feet high, consists in its 
lower part of till with boulders, 80 feet thick, precisely resem 
bling the moraine of a Swiss glacier, above which there is a 
mass of stratified sand 100 feet thick, which has the appear 
ance of consisting of the materials of the moraine re-arranged 
in a stratified form, possibly by the waters of a glacier lake. 
The structure of the entire barrier has been laid open by the 
Esk, which has cut through it a deep passage about 300 yards 

I have also given an account of another striking feature in 
the physical geography of Perthshire and Forfarshire, which I 

* Proceedings of the Geological Society, vol. iii. p. 337. 


consider to belong to the same period; namely, a continuous 
zone of boulder clay, forming ridges and mounds from fifty 
to seventy feet high (the upper part of the mounds usually 
stratified), enclosing numerous lakes, some of them 
several miles long, and many ponds and swamps filled 
with shell-marl and peat. This band of till, with Grampian 
boulders and associated river-gravel, may be traced con 
tinuously for a distance of thirty-four miles, with a width of 
three and a half miles, from near Dunkeld, by Coupar, to the 
south of Blairgowrie, then through the lowest part of Strath- 
more, and afterwards in a straight line through the greatest 
depression in the Sidlaw Hills, from Forfar to Lunan Bay. 

Although no great river now takes its course through this 
line df ancient lakes, moraines, and river gravel, yet it evi 
dently marks an ancient line by which, first, a great glacier 
descended from the mountains to the sea, and by which, 
secondly, at a later period, the principal water drainage of this 
country was effected. The subsequent modification in geo 
graphy is comparable in amount to that which has taken 
place since the higher level gravels of the Valley of the 
Somme were formed, or since the Belgian caves were filled 
with mud and bone-breccia. 

Mr. Jamieson has remarked, in reference to this and some 
other extinct river-channels of corresponding date, that we 
have the means of ascertaining the direction in which the 
waters flowed by observing the arrangement of the oval and 
flattish pebbles in their deserted channels ; for in the bed of a 
fast-flowing river such pebbles are seen to dip towards the 
current, as represented in fig. 35, such being the position of 
greatest resistance to the stream.* If this be admitted, it 
follows that the higher or mountainous country bore the 
same relation to the lower lands, at the time when a great 
river passed through this chain of lakes, as it does at present. 

* Jamieson, Quarterly Geological Journal, vol. xvi. p. 349. 


Fig. 35 

We also seem to have a test of the comparatively modern 
origin of the mounds of till which surround the above men 
tioned chain of lakes (of which that of Forfar is one), in 
the species of organic remains contained in the shell-marl 
deposited at their bottom. All the mammalia as well as 
shells are of recent species. Unfortunately, we have no infor 
mation as to the fauna which inhabited the country at the time 
when the till itself was formed. There seem to be only three 
or four instances as yet known in all Scotland of mammalia 
having been discovered in boulder clay. 

Mr. E. Bald has recorded the circumstances under which 
a single elephant's tusk was found in the unstratified drift of 
the Valley of the Forth, with the minuteness which such a 
discovery from its rarity well deserved. He distinguishes 
the boulder clay, under the name of ' the old alluvial cover,' 
from that more modern alluvium, in which the whales of 
Airthrie, described at p. 53, were found. This cover he 
says is sometimes one hundred and sixty feet thick. Having 
never observed any organic remains in it, he watched with 
curiosity and care the digging of the Union Canal between 
Edinburgh and Falkirk, which passed for no less than twenty- 
eight miles almost continuously through it. Mr. Baird the 
engineer, who superintended the works, assisted in the inquiry, 
and at one place only in this long section did they meet with 
a fossil, namely, at Cliftonhall, in the valley of the Almond. 
It lay at a depth of between fifteen and twenty feet from the 
surface, in very stiff clay, and consisted of an elephant's 
tusk, thirty-nine inches long and thirteen in circumference, in 
so fresh a state that an ivory turner purchased it and turned 
part of it into chessmen before it was rescued from destruction. 


The remainder is still preserved in the museum at Edinburgh, 
but by exposure to the air it has shrunk considerably.* In 
1817, two other tusks and some bones of the elephant, as we 
learn from the same authority (Mr. Bald), were met with, 
three and a half feet long and thirteen inches in circumference, 
lying in an horizontal position, seventeen feet deep in clay, 
with marine shells, at Kilmaurs, in Ayrshire. The species of 
shells are not given. f 

In another excavation through the Scotch boulder clay, made 
in digging the Clyde and Forth Junction Railway, the antlers 
of a reindeer were found at Croftamie, in Dumbartonshire, 
in the basin of the river Endrick, which flows into Loch 
Lomond. They had cut through twelve feet of till with 
angular and rounded stones, some of large size, and then 
through six feet of underlying clay, when they came upon 
the deer's horns, eighteen feet from the surface, and within 
a foot of the sandstone on which the till rested. At the 
distance of a few yards, and in the same position, but a foot 
or two deeper, were observed marine shells, Cyprina is- 
landica, Astarte elliptica, A. compressa, Fusus antiquus, 
Littorina littorea, and a Balanus. The height above the 
level of the sea was between one hundred and one hundred 
and three feet. The reindeer's horn was seen by Professor 
Owen, who considered it to be that of a young female of the 
large variety, called by the Hudson's Bay trappers the 

The remains of elephants, now in the museums of Glasgow 
and Edinburgh, purporting to come from the superficial 
deposits of Scotland have been referred to Mephas pri- 
migenius. In cases where tusks alone have been found 
unaccompanied by molar teeth, such specific determinations 
may be uncertain ; but if any one specimen be correctly 

* Memoirs of the Wernerian Society, Edinburgh, vol. iv. p. 58. 
f Ibid., vol. iv. p. 63. 


named, the occurrence of the mammoth and reindeer in the 
Scotch boulder-clay, as both these quadrupeds are known to 
have been contemporary with man, favours the idea which I 
have already expressed, that the close of the glacial period in 
the Grampians may have coincided in time with the existence 
of man in those parts of Europe where the climate was less 
severe, as, for example, in the basins of the Thames, Somme, 
and Seine, in which the bones of many extinct mammalia 
are associated with flint implements of the antique type. 

Parallel Roads of Glen Roy in Scotland. 

Perhaps no portion of the superficial drift of Scotland can 
lay claim to so modern an origin on the score of the fresh 
ness of its aspect, as that which forms what are called the 
Parallel Roads of Grlen Roy. If they do not belong to the 
recent epoch, they are at least posterior in date to the pre 
sent outline of mountain and glen, and to the time when 
every one of the smaller burns ran in their present channels, 
though some of them have since been slightly deepened. 
The perfect horizontally, moreover, of the roads, one of which 
is continuous for about twenty miles from east to west, and 
twelve miles from north to south, shows that since the era 
of their formation no change has taken place in the relative 
levels of different parts of the district. 

Grlen Roy is situated in the Western Highlands, about ten 
miles north of Fort William, near the western end of the great 
glen of Scotland, or Caledonian Canal, and near the foot of 
the highest of the Grampians, Ben Nevis. (See map, p. 254.) 
Throughout nearly its whole length, a distance of more than 
ten miles, three parallel roads or shelves are traced along the 
steep sides of the mountains, as represented in the annexed 
view, Plate II., by the late Sir T. Lander Dick, each maintain 
ing a perfect horizontally, and continuing at exactly the 


I ! 



o ?, 


same level on the opposite sides of the glen. Seen at a 
distance, they appear like ledges, or roads, cut artificially out 
of the sides of the hills ; but when we are upon them, we can 
scarcely recognise their existence, so uneven is their surface, 
and so covered with boulders. They are from ten to sixty 
feet broad, and merely differ from the side of the mountain 
by being somewhat less steep. 

On closer inspection, we find that these terraces are stra 
tified in the ordinary manner of alluvial or littoral deposits, 
as may be seen at those points where ravines have been 
excavated by torrents. The parallel shelves, therefore, have 
not been caused by denudation, but by the deposition of 
detritus, precisely similar to that which is dispersed in 
smaller quantities over the declivities of the hills above. 
These hills consist of clay-slate, mica schist, and granite, 
which rocks have been worn away and laid bare at a few 
points immediately above the parallel roads. The lowest 
of these roads is about 850 feet above the level of the 
sea, the next about 212 feet higher, and the third 82 feet 
above the second. There is a fourth shelf, which occurs 
only in a contiguous valley called Grlen Grluoy, which is 
twelve feet above the highest of all the Glen Eoy roads, and 
consequently about 1,156 feet above the level of the sea.* One 
only, the lowest of the three roads of Grlen Eoy, is continued 
throughout Grlen Spean, a large valley with which Grlen Eoy 
unites. (See Plate II. and map, fig. 36.) As the shelves, having 
no slope towards the sea like ordinary river terraces, are always 
at the same absolute height, they become continually more 
elevated above the river in proportion as we descend each 
valley ; and they at length terminate very abruptly, without 
any obvious cause, or any change either in the shape of the 
ground or in the composition or hardness of the rocks. 

* Another detached shelf also occurs at Kilfinnan. (See Map, p. 254.) 




I should exceed the limits of this work, were I to attempt 
to give a full description of all the geographical circumstances 
attending these singular terraces, or to discuss the ingenious 
theories which have been severally proposed to account for 
them by Dr. Macculloch, Sir T. Lauder, and Messrs. Darwin, 
Agassiz, Milne, and Chambers. There is one point, how 
ever, on which all are agreed, namely, that these shelves 
are ancient beaches, or littoral formations, accumulated rotfad 
the edges of one or more sheets of water which once stood for 
a long time successively at the level of the several shelves. 

It is well known, that wherever a lake or marine fiord 
exists surrounded by steep mountains subject to disintegra 
tion by frost or the action of torrents, some loose matter is 
washed down annually, especially during the melting of snow, 
and a check is given to the descent of this detritus at the 
point where it reaches the waters of the lake. The waves then 
spread out the materials along the shore, and throw some of 
them upon the beach; their dispersing power being aided 
by the ice, which often adheres to pebbles during the winter 
months, and gives buoyancy to them. 
The annexed diagram illustrates 
the manner in which Dr. Maccul 
loch and Mr. Darwin suppose 6 the 
roads' to constitute mere excres 
cences of the superficial alluvial 
coating which rests upon the hill 
side, and consists chiefly of clay 
and sharp unrounded stones. 

Among Other proofs that the A B. Supposed original surface 
parallel roads have really been CD . Bo^tr shelves in the 

formed along the margin of a sheet outer alluvial covering 

of the hill. 

of water, it may be mentioned, that 

wherever an isolated hill rises in the middle of the glen above 

the level of any particular shelf, as in Mealderry, Plate II., a 


corresponding shelf is seen at the same level passing round 
the hill, as would have happened if it had once formed an 
island in a lake or fiord. Another very remarkable pecu 
liarity in these terraces is this ; each of them comes in some 
portion of its course to a col, or parting ridge between the 
heads of glens, the explanation of which will be considered 
in the sequel. 

'Those writers who first advocated the doctrine that the 
roads were the ancient beaches of freshwater lakes, were 
unable to offer any probable hypothesis respecting the for 
mation and subsequent removal of barriers of sufficient height 
and solidity to dam up the water. To introduce any violent 
convulsion for their removal was inconsistent with the unin 
terrupted horizontality of the roads, and with the undisturbed 
aspect of those parts of the glens where the shelves come 
suddenly to an end. 

Mr. Agassiz and Dr. Buckland, desirous, like the defenders 
of the lake theory, to account for the limitation of the shelves 
to certain glens, and their absence in contiguous glens, where 
the rocks are of the same composition, and the slope and in 
clination of the ground very similar, first started the theory 
that these valleys were once blocked up by enormous glaciers 
descending from Ben Nevis, giving rise to what are called, in 
Switzerland and in the Tyrol, glacier-lakes. In corroboration 
of this view, they contended that the alluvium of Grlen Roy, 
as well as of other parts of Scotland, agrees in character with 
the moraines of glaciers seen in the Alpine valleys of Switzer 
land. It will readily be conceded that this hypothesis was 
preferable to any previous lacustrine theory, by accounting 
more easily for the temporary existence and entire disappear 
ance of lofty transverse barriers, although the height required 
for the supposed dams of ice appeared very enormous. 

Before the idea of glacier-lakes had been suggested by 
Agassiz, Mr. Darwin examined Glen Roy, and came to the 


opinion that the shelves were formed when the glens were 
still arms of the sea, and, consequently, that there never were 
any seaward barriers. According to him, the land emerged 
during a slow and uniform upward movement, like that now 
experienced throughout a large part of Sweden and Finland ; 
but there were certain pauses in the upheaving process, at 
which times the waters of the sea remained stationary for so 
many centuries as to allow of the accumulation of an extra 
ordinary quantity of detrital matter, and the excavation, at 
many points immediately above the sea-level, of deep notches 
and bare cliffs in the hard and solid rock. 

This theory I adopted in 1841 (' Elements,' 2nd ed.), as ap 
pearing to me less objectionable than any other then proposed. 
The phenomena most difficult to reconcile with it are, first, the 
abrupt cessation of the roads at certain points in the different 
glens ; secondly, their unequal number in different valleys 
connecting with each other, there being three, for example, in 
Glen Eoy, and only one in Grlen Spean ; thirdly, the precise 
horizontality of level maintained by the same shelf over a space 
many leagues in length, requiring us to assume, that during 
a rise of 1,156 feet no one portion of the land was raised even 
a few yards above another ; fourthly, the coincidence of level 
already alluded to of each shelf with a col, or the point form 
ing the head of two glens, from which the rain-waters flow 
in opposite directions. This last-mentioned feature in the 
physical geography of Lochaber Mr. Darwin endeavoured to 
explain in the following manner. He called these cols 
( land-straits,' and regarding them as having been anciently 
sounds or channels between islands, he pointed out that 
there is a tendency in such sounds to be silted up, and 
always the more so in proportion to their narrowness. In a 
chart of the Falkland Islands, by Capt. Sullivan, E.N., it 
appears that there are several examples there of straits where 
the soundings diminish regularly towards the narrowest part. 


One is so nearly dry that it can be walked over at low water, 
and another, no longer covered by the sea, is supposed to 
have recently dried up in consequence of a small alteration 
in the relative level of sea and land. ( Similar straits,' 
observes Mr. Chambers, 'hovering, in character, between 
sea and land, and which may be called fords, are met with 
in the Hebrides. Such, for example, is the passage dividing 
the islands of Lewis and Harris, and that between North 
Uist and Benbecula, both of which would undoubtedly appear 
as cols, coinciding with a terrace or raised beach, all round 
the islands if the sea were to subside.'* 

The first of the difficulties above alluded to, namely, the 
non-extension of the shelves over certain parts of the glens, 
might be explained, said Mr. Darwin, by supposing in 
certain places a quick growth of green turf on a good soil, 
which prevented the rain from washing away any loose 
materials lying on the surface. But wherever the soil was 
barren, and where green sward took long to form, there may 
have been time for the removal of the gravel. In one case 
an intermediate shelf appears for a short distance (three 
quarters of a mile) on the face of the mountain called Tomb- 
hran, between the two upper shelves, and is seen nowhere 
else. It occurs where there was the longest space of open 
water, and where the waves may have acquired a more than 
ordinary power to heap up detritus. 

The unequal number of the shelves in valleys communi 
cating with each other, and in which the boundary rocks are 
similar in composition, and the general absence of any shelves 
at corresponding altitudes in glens on the opposite watershed, 
like that of the Spey, and in valleys where the waters flow 
eastward, are difficulties attending the marine theory which 
have never yet been got over. Mr. T. F. Jamieson, before 

* Ancient Sea Margins, p. 114, by R. Chambers. 


cited, has, during a late visit to Lochaber, in 1861, observed 
many facts highly confirmatory of the hypothesis of glacier- 
lakes which, as I have already stated, was originally advanced 
by Mr. Agassiz. In the first place, he found much superficial 
scoring and polishing of rocks, and accumulation of boulders 
at those points where signs of glacial action ought to appear, 
if ice had once dammed up the waters of the glens in which 
the 'roads' occur. Ben Nevis may have sent down its 
glaciers from the south, and Glen Arkeg from the north, for 
the mountains at the head of the last-mentioned glen are 
3,000 feet high, and may, together with other tributary glens, 
have helped to choke up the great Caledonian valley with ice, 
so as to block up for a time the mouths of the Spean, Eoy, 
and Grluoy. The temporary conversion of these glens into 
glacier-lakes is the more conceivable, because the hills at 
their upper ends not being lofty nor of great extent, they 
may not have been filled with ice at a time when great 
glaciers were generated in other adjoining and much higher 

2ndly. The shelves, says Mr. Jamieson, are more precisely 
defined and unbroken than any of the raised beaches or ac 
knowledged ancient coast-lines visible on the west of Scotland, 
as in Argyleshire, for example. 

Srdly. At the level of the lower shelf in Grlen Koy, at points 
where torrents now cut channels through the shelf as they 
descend the hill-side, there are small delta-like extensions of 
the shelf, perfectly preserved, as if the materials, whether fine 
or coarse, had originally settled there in a placid lake, and 
had not been acted upon by tidal currents, mingling them 
with the sediment of other streams. These deltas are too 
entire to allow us to suppose that they have at any time since 
their origin been exposed to the waves of the sea. 

4thly. The alluvium on the e cols' or watersheds, before 
alluded to, is such as would have been formed if the waters 

s 2 


of the rivers had been made to flow east, or out of the upper 
ends of the supposed glacier-lakes, instead of escaping at the 
lower ends, in a westerly direction, where the great blockages 
of ice are assumed to have occurred. 

In addition to these arguments of Mr. Jamieson, I may 
mention that in Switzerland, at present, no testacea live in 
the cold waters of glacier-lakes ; so that the entire absence of 
fossil shells, whether marine or freshwater, in the stratified 
materials of each shelf, would be accounted for, if the 
theory above mentioned be embraced. 

When I examined 'the parallel roads' in 1825, in com 
pany with Dr. Buckland, neither this glacier theory nor Mr. 
Darwin's suggestion of ancient sea-margins had been pro 
posed, and I have never since revisited Lochaber. But I 
retain in my memory a vivid recollection of the scenery and 
physical features of the district, and I now consider the 
glacier-lake theory as affording by far the most satisfactory 
solution of this difficult problem. The objection to it, which 
until lately appeared to be the most formidable, and which 
led Mr. Kobert Chambers in his ' Sea Margins ' to reject it 
entirely, was the difficulty of conceiving how the waters could 
be made to stand so high in Grlen Roy, as to allow the upper 
most shelf to be formed. Grant a barrier of ice in the lower 
part of the glen, of sufficient altitude to stop the waters from 
flowing westward, still, what prevented them from escaping 
over the c col ' at the head of Grlen Glaster ? This ' col ' coin 
cides exactly in level, as Mr. Milne Home first ascertained, 
with the second or middle shelf of Grlen Roy. The difficulty 
here stated appears now to be removed by supposing that the 
higher lines or roads were formed before the lower ones, and 
when the quantity of ice was most in excess. We must ima 
gine that at the time when the uppermost shelf of Grlen Roy 
was forming in a shallow lake, the lower part of that glen 
was filled up with ice, and, according to Mr. Jamieson, a 


glacier from Loch Treig then protruded itself across Glen 
Spean, and rested on the flank of the hill on the opposite side 
in such a manner as effectually to prevent any water from 
escaping over the Glen Glaster ' col.' The proofs of such a 
glacier having actually existed at the point in question 
consist, he says, in numerous cross striae observable in the 
bottom of Glen Spean, and in the presence of moraine matter 
in considerable abundance on the flanks of the hill extending 
to heights above the Glen Glaster ' col.' When the ice 
shrank into less dimensions the second shelf would be formed, 
having its level determined by the col last mentioned, Glen 
Spean in the meantime being filled with a glacier. Finally, 
the ice blockage common to Glens Eoy, Spean, and Laggan, 
which consisted probably of a glacier from Ben Nevis, gave 
rise to the lowest and most extensive lake, the waters of 
which escaped over the pass of Muckul or the ( col' at the head 
of Loch Laggan, which, as Mr. Jamieson has now ascertained, 
agrees precisely in level with the lowest of all the shelves, 
and where there are unequivocal signs of a river having 
flowed out for a considerable period. 

Dr. Hooker has described some parallel terraces, very 
analogous in their aspect to those of Glen Roy, as existing in 
the higher valleys of the Himalaya, of which his pencil has 
given us several graphic illustrations. He believes these 
Indian shelves to have originated on the borders of glacier- 
lakes, the barriers of which were usually formed by the ice 
and moraines of lateral or tributary glaciers, which descended 
into and crossed the main valley, as we have supposed in the 
case of Glen Eoy; but others he ascribes to the terminal 
moraine of the principal glacier itself, which had retreated 
during a series of milder seasons, so as to leave an interval 
between the ice and the terminal moraine. This interspace 
caused by the melting of ice becomes filled with water and 
forms a lake, the drainage of which usually takes place by 


percolation through the porous parts of the moraine, and not 
by a stream overflowing that barrier. Such a glacier-lake 
Dr. Hooker actually found in existence near the head of the 
Yangma valley in the Himalaya. It was moreover partially 
bounded by recently formed marginal terraces or parallel 
roads, implying changes of level in the barrier of ice and 
moraine matter.* 

It has been sometimes objected to the hypothesis of glacier- 
lakes, as applied to the case of Glen Roy, that the shelves 
must have taken a very long period for their formation. Such 
a lapse of time, it is said, might be consistent with the theory 
of pauses or stationary periods in the rise of the land during an 
intermittent upward movement, but it is' hardly compatible 
with the idea of so precarious and fluctuating a barrier as a 
mass of ice. But the reader will have seen that the perma 
nency of level in such glacier-lakes has no necessary con 
nection with minor changes in the height of the supposed 
dam of ice. If a glacier descending from higher mountains 
through a tributary glen enters the main valley in which 
there happens to be no glacier, the river is arrested in its 
course and a lake is formed. The dam may be constantly 
repaired and may vary in height several hundreds of feet 
without affecting the level of the lake, so long as the surplus 
waters escape over a c col' or parting ridge of rock. The 
height at which the waters remain stationary is determined 
solely by the elevation of the ' col,' and not by the barrier 
of ice, provided the barrier is higher than the ' col.' 

But if we embrace the theory of glacier-lakes, we must be 
prepared to assume not only that the sea had nothing to do 
with the original formation of the e parallel roads,' but that 
it has never, since the disappearance of the lakes, risen in 
any one of the glens up to the level of the lowest shelf, which 

* Hooker, Himalaya Journal, vol. i. also profited by the author's personal 
p. 242 ; ii. pp. 119, 121, 166. I have explanations. 


is about 850 feet high ; for in that case the remarkable per 
sistency and integrity of the roads and deltas, before described, 
must have been impaired. 

We have seen (p. 244) that fifty miles to the south of 
Lochaber, the glacier formations of Lanarkshire with marine 
shells of arctic character have been traced to the height of 
524 feet. About fifty miles to the south-east in Perthshire 
are those stratified clays and sands, near Killiecrankie, which 
were once supposed to be of submarine origin, and which in 
that case would imply the former submergence of what is now 
dry land to the extent of 1,550 feet, or several hundred feet 
beyond the highest of the parallel roads. Even granting 
that these laminated drifts may have had a different origin, 
as above suggested (p. 246), there are still many facts 
connected with the distribution of erratics and the striation 
of rocks in Scotland which are not easily accounted for with 
out supposing the country to have sunk, since the era of con 
tinental ice, to a greater depth than 525 feet, the highest 
point to which marine shells have yet been traced. 

After what was said of the pressure and abrading power of 
a general crust of ice, like that now covering Greenland, it 
is almost superfluous to say that the parallel roads must 
have been of later date than such a state of things, for every 
trace of them must have been obliterated by the movement of 
such a mass of ice. It is no less clear, that as no glacier-lakes 
can now exist in Greenland, so there could have been none 
in Scotland, when the mountains were covered with one great 
crust of ice. It may, however, be contended, that the parallel 
roads were produced when the general crust of ice first gave 
place to a period of separate glaciers, and that no period of 
deep submergence ever intervened in Lochaber after the 
time of the lakes. Even in that case, however, it is difficult 
not to suppose that the G-len Eoy country participated in the 
downward movement which sank part of Lanarkshire 525 


feet beneath the sea, subsequently to the first great glaciation 
of Scotland (p. 244). Yet that amount of subsidence might 
have occurred, and even a more considerable one, without 
causing the sea to rise to the level of the lowest shelf, or to 
a height of 850 feet above the present sea-level. 

This is a question on which I am not prepared at present 
to offer a decided opinion. 

Whether the horizontally of the shelves or terrace-lines is 
really as perfect as has been generally assumed, is a point 
which will require to be tested by a more accurate trigono 
metrical survey than has yet been made. The preservation 
of precisely the same level in the lowest line throughout the 
Grlens of Roy, Spean and Laggan, for a distance of twenty miles 
east and west, and ten or twelve miles north and south, would 
be very wonderful if ascertained with mathematical precision. 
Mr. Jamieson, after making in 1862 several measurements 
with a spirit-level, has been led to suspect a rise in the 
lowest shelf of one foot in a mile in a direction from west to 
east, or from the mouth of Grlen Roy to a point six miles 
east of it in Grlen Spean. To confirm such observations, and 
to determine whether a similar rate of rise continues eastward 
as far as the pass of Muckul, would be most important. 

On the whole, I conclude that the Grlen Roy terrace-lines 
and those of some neighbouring valleys, were formed on the 
borders of glacier-lakes, in times long subsequent to the 
principal glaciation of Scotland. They may perhaps have 
been nearly as late, especially the lowest of the shelves, as 
that portion of the post-pliocene period in which man 
coexisted in Europe with the mammoth. 















Extinct Glaciers in Wales. 

considerable amount of vertical movement in opposite 
J- directions, which was suggested in the last chapter, as 
affording the most prohable explanation of the position of 
some of the stratified and fossiliferous drifts of Scotland, 
formed since the commencement of the glacial period, will 
appear less startling, if it can be shown that independent 
observations lead us to infer that a geographical revolution 
of still greater magnitude accompanied the successive phases 
of glaciation through which the Welsh mountains have passed. 
That Wales was once an independent centre of the dis 
persion of erratic blocks, has long been acknowledged. Dr. 
Buckland published in 1842 his reasons for believing that 
the Snowdonian mountains in Caernarvonshire were formerly 


covered with glaciers, which radiated from the central heights 
through the seven principal valleys of that chain, where striae 
and flutings are seen on the polished rocks directed towards 
as many different points of the compass. He also described 
the f moraines ' of the ancient glaciers, and the rounded 
masses of polished rock, called in Switzerland ' roches mou- 
tonnees.' His views respecting the old extinct glaciers of 
North Wales were subsequently confirmed by Mr. Darwin, 
who attributed the transport of many of the larger erratic 
blocks to floating ice. Much of the Welsh glacial drift had 
already been shown by Mr. Trimmer to have had a sub 
marine origin, and Mr. Darwin maintained that when the 
land rose again to nearly its present height, glaciers filled the 
valleys, and f swept them clean of all the rubbish left by the 
sea.' * 

Professor Eamsay, in a paper read to the Geological Society 
in 1851, and in a later work on the glaciation of North Wales, 
described three successive glacial periods, during the first of 
which the land was much higher than it now is, and the 
quantity of ice excessive ; secondly, a period of submerg 
ence when the land was 2,300 feet lower than at present, and 
when the higher mountain tops only stood out of the sea as 
a cluster of low islands, which nevertheless were covered 
with snow ; and lastly, a third period when the marine boulder 
drift formed in the middle period was ploughed out of the 
larger valleys by a second set of glaciers, smaller than those 
of the first period. This last stage of glaciation[may have coin 
cided with that of the parallel roads of Glen Eoy, spoken of 
in the last chapter. In Wales it was certainly preceded 
by submergence, and the rocks had been exposed to glacial 
polishing and friction before they sank. 

Fortunately the evidence of the sojourn of the Welsh 

* Philosophical Magazine, ser. 3, voL xxi. p. 180. 


mountains beneath the waters of the sea is not deficient, as 
in Scotland, in that complete demonstration which the 
presence of marine shells affords. The late Mr. Trimmer 
discovered such shells on Moel Tryfane, in North Wales, in 
drift elevated 1,392 feet above the level of the sea. It 
appears from his observations, and those of the late Edward 
Forbes, corroborated by others of Professor Eamsay and 
Mr. Prestwich, that about twelve species of shells, including 
Fusus bamfius, F. antiquus, Venus striatula (Forbes and 
Hanley), have been met with at heights of between 1,000 and 
1,400 feet, in drift, reposing on a surface of rock which 
had been previously exposed to glacial friction 'and striation. 
The shells, as a whole, are those of the glacial period, 
and not of the Norwich Crag. Two localities of these shells 
in Wales, in addition to that first pointed out by Mr. Trimmer, 
have since been observed by Professor Eamsay, who, however, 
is of opinion that the amount of submergence can by no 
means be limited to the extreme height to which the shells 
happen to have been traced ; for drift of the same character 
as that of Moel Tryfane extends continuously to the height 
of 2,300 feet,* 

Rarity of Organic Remains in Glacial Formations. 

The general dearth of shells in such formations, below as 
well as above the level at which Mr. Trimmer first found 
them, deserves notice. Whether we can explain it or not, it 
is a negative character which seems to belong very generally 
to deposits formed in glacial seas. The porous nature of the 
strata, and the length of time during which they have been 
permeated by rain-water, may partly account, as we hinted in 
a former chapter, for the destruction of organic remains. 

* Eamsay, Quarterly Geological Journal, vol. viii. p. 372, 1852 


But it is also possible that they were originally scarce, for we 
read of the waters of the sea being so freshened and chilled 
by the melting of ice-bergs in some Norwegian and Icelandic 
fiords, that the fish are driven away, and all the mollusca 
killed. The moraines of glaciers are always from the first 
devoid of shells, and if transported by ice-bergs to a distance, 
and deposited where the ice melts, may continue as barren of 
every indication of life, as they were when they originated. 

Nevertheless, it may be said, on the other hand, that herds 
of seals and walruses crowd the floating ice of Spitzbergen in 
lat. 80 north, of which Mr. Lamont has recently given us a 
lively picture,* and huge whales fatten on myriads of 
pteropods in polar regions. It had been suggested that the 
bottom of the sea, at the era of extreme submergence in 
Scotland and Wales, was so deep as to reach the zero of 
animal life, which, in part of the Mediterranean (the Egean, 
for example), the late Edward Forbes fixed, after a long series 
of dredgings, at 300 fathoms. But the shells of the glacial 
drift of Scotland and Wales, when they do occur, are not 
those of deep seas ; and, moreover, our faith in the unin 
habitable state of the ocean at great depths has been rudely 
shaken, by the recent discovery by Captain M'Clintock and 
Dr. Wallich, of starfish in water more than a thousand fathoms 
deep (7,560 feet !), midway between Greenland and Iceland. 
That these radiata were really dredged up from the bottom, 
and that they had been living and feeding there, appeared 
from the fact that their stomachs were full of globigerina, of 
which foraminiferous creatures, both living and dead, the oozy 
bed of the ocean at that vast depth was found to be exclusively 

Whatever may be the cause, the fact is certain, that over 
large areas in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, I might add 

* Seasons with the Sea-Horses, 1861. 


throughout the northern hemisphere en both sides of the 
Atlantic, the stratified drift of the glacial period is very com 
monly devoid of fossils, in spite of the occurrence here and 
there, at the height of 500, 700, and even 1,400 feet, of marine 
shells. These, when met with, belong, with few exceptions, 
to known living species. I am therefore unable to agree with 
Mr. Kjerulf that the amount of former submergence can be 
measured by the extreme height at which shells happen to 
have been found. 

Glacial Formations in England. 

The mountains of Cumberland and Westmoreland, and the 
English lake district, afford equally unequivocal vestiges of ice- 
Fig. 38 

Dome-shaped rocks, or 'roches moutonnees,' in the valley of the Botha, 
near Ambleside, from a drawing by E. Hull, F.G-.S.* 

action not only in the form of polished and grooved surfaces, 
but also of those rounded bosses before mentioned, as being so 
abundant in the Alpine valleys of Switzerland, where glaciers 
exist, or have existed. Mr. Hull has lately published a 
faithful account of these phenomena, and has given a repre 
sentation of some of the English 'roches moutonnees,' which 

* Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, vol. xi. pi. i. p. 31, 1860. 


precisely resemble hundreds of dome-shaped protuberances in 
North Wales, Sweden, and North America.* 

The marks of glaciation on the rocks, and the trans 
portation of erratics from Cumberland to the eastward, have 
been traced by Professor Phillips over a large part of York 
shire, extending to a height of 1,500 feet above the sea; and 
similar northern drift has been observed in Lancashire, 
Cheshire, Derbyshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, and Worcester 
shire. It is rare to find marine shells, except at heights of 
200 or 300 feet ; but a few instances of their occurrence have 
been noticed, especially of Turritella communis (a gregarious 
shell), far in the interior, at elevations of 500 feet, and even 
of 700 in Derbyshire, and some adjacent counties, as I learn 
from Mr. Binney and Mr. Prestwich. 

Such instances are of no small theoretical interest, as 
enabling us to account for the scattering of large erratic 
blocks at equal or much greater elevations, over a large part 
of the northern and midland counties, such as could only 
have been conveyed to their present sites by floating ice. 
Of this nature, among others, is a remarkable angular block 
of syenitic greenstone, four feet and a half by four feet square, 
and two feet thick, which Mr. Darwin describes as lying on 
the summit of Ashley Heath, in Staffordshire, 803 feet above 
the sea, resting on new red sandstone, f 

Signs of Ice-action and Submergence in Ireland during 
the Glacial Period. 

In Ireland we encounter the same difficulty as in Scotland, 
in determining how much of the glaciation of the higher 
mountains should be referred to land glaciers, and how much 

* Hull, Edinburgh New Philoso- shire, Philosophical Magazine, series 
phical Journal, July 1860. 3, xxi. p. 180. 

f Ancient Glaciers of Caernarvon- 


to floating ice, during submergence. The signs of glacial 
action have been traced by Professor Jukes to elevations 
of 2,500 feet in the Killarney district, and to great heights 
in other mountainous regions ; but marine shells have rarely 
been met with higher than 600 feet above the sea, and that 
chiefly in gravel, clay and sand in Wicklow and Wexford. 
They are so rare in the drift east of the Wicklow mountains, 
that an exception to the rule, lately observed at Ballymore 
Eustace, by Professor Jukes, is considered as a fact of no small 
geological interest. The wide extent of drift of the same 
character, spread over large areas in Ireland, shows that the 
whole island was, in some part of the glacial period, an archi 
pelago, as represented in the maps, figs. 39, 40, pp. 276 
and 278. 

Speaking of the Wexford drift, the late Professor E. Forbes 
states that Sir H. James found in it, together with many of 
the usual glacial shells, several species which are characteristic 
of the crag; among others the reversed variety of Fusus 
antiquuSy called F. contrarius, and the extinct species 
Nucula Cobboldice, and Turritella incrassata.* Perhaps a 
portion of this drift of the south of Ireland may belong to 
the close of the newer pliocene period, and may be of a some 
what older date than the shells of the Clyde, alluded to at 
p. 231. They may also correspond still more nearly in age 
with the fauna of the uppermost strata of the Norwich Crag, 
occurring at Chillesford, and alluded to p. 199. 

The scarcity of mammalian remains in the Irish drift 
favours the theory of its marine origin. In the superficial 
deposits of the whole island, I have only met with three 
recorded examples of the mammoth, one in the south near 
Dungarvan, where the bones of Elephas primigenius, two 
species of bear (Ursus Arctos, and Ursus spelceus?), the 

* Forbes' Memoirs of Survey, &c., vol. i. p. 377. 


rein-deer, horse, &c., were found in a cave ; * another in the 
centre of the island near Belturbet, in the county of Cavan. 

Perhaps the conversion into land of the bed of the glacial 
sea, and the immigration into the newly upheaved region of 
the elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus, which coexisted 
with the fabricators of the St. Acheul flint hatchets, were 
events which preceded in time the elevation of the Irish 
drift, and the union of that island with England. Ireland 
may have continued for a longer time in the state of an 
archipelago, and was therefore for a much shorter time 
inhabited by the large extinct post-pliocene pachyderms. 

In one of the reports of the geological survey of Ireland, 
published in 1859, Professor Jukes, in explanation of sheet 
184 of the maps, alludes to beds of sand and gravel, and signs 
of the polishing and furrowing of the rocks in the counties 
of Kerry and Killarney, as high as 2,500 feet above the sea, 
and supposes (perhaps with good reason) that the land was 
depressed even to that extent. He observes that above that 
elevation (2,500 feet) the rocks are rough, and not smoothed, 
as if by ice. Some of the drift was traced as high as 1,500 feet, 
the highest hills there exceeding 3,400 feet. Mr. Jukes, how 
ever, is by no means inclined to insist on submergence to 
the extent of 2,500 feet, as he is aware that ice, like that 
now prevailing in Greenland, might explain most, if not 
all, the appearances of glaciation in the highest regions. 

Although the course taken by the Irish erratics in general 
is such that their transportation seems to have been due to 
floating ice or coast-ice, yet some granite blocks have 
travelled from south to north, as recorded by Sir E. Griffiths, 
namely, those of the Ox Mountains in Sligo ; a fact from 
which Mr. Jamieson infers that those mountains formed at 
one time a centre of dispersion. In the same part of Ireland, 

* E. Brenan and Dr. Carte, Dublin, 1859. 


the general direction in which the boulders have travelled is 
everywhere from north-west to south-east, a course directly 
at right angles to the prevailing trend of the present 
mountain ridges. 

Maps illustrating successive Revolutions in Physical 
Geography during the Post-pliocene Period. 

The late Mr. Trimmer, before referred to, has endeavoured 
to assist our speculations as to the successive revolutions in 
physical geography, through which the British Islands have 
passed since the commencement of the glacial period, by 
four ' sketch maps ' as he termed them, in the first of 
which he gave an ideal restoration of the original Conti 
nental period, called by him the first elephantine period, or 
that of the forest of Cromer, before described (p. 214). He 
was not aware that the prevailing elephant of that era 
(E. meridionalis) was distinct from the mammoth. At this 
era he conceived Ireland and England to have been united 
with each other and with France, but much of the area re 
presented as land in the map, fig. 41, p. 279, was supposed 
to be under water. His second map, of the great submergence 
of the glacial period, was not essentially different from our map, 
fig. 39, p. 276. His third map expressed a period of partial 
re-elevation, when Ireland was reunited to Scotland and the 
north of England ; but England still separated from France. 
This restoration appears to me to rest on insufficient data, 
being constructed to suit the supposed area over which the 
gigantic Irish deer, or Megaceros, migrated from east to west, 
also to explain an assumed submergence of the district called 
the Wealden, in the south-east of England, which had re 
mained land during the grand glacial submergence. 

The fourth map is a return to nearly the same continental 
conditions as the first Ireland, England, and the Continent 



being united. This he called the second elephantine period ; 
and it would coincide very closely with that part of the post- 
pliocene era in which man coexisted with the mammoth, and 
when, according to Mr. Trimmer's hypothesis, the Thames 
was a tributary of the Rhine.* 

These geographical speculations were indulged in ten years 
after Edward Forbes had published his bold generalisations 
on the geological changes which accompanied the successive 
establishment of the Scandinavian, Grermanic, and other living 
floras and faunas in the British Islands, and, like the theories 
of his predecessor, were the results of much reflection on a 
vast body of geological facts. It is by repeated efforts of 
this kind, made by geologists who are prepared for the partial 
failure of some of their first attempts, that we shall ultimately 
arrive at a knowledge of the long series of geographical 
revolutions which have followed each other since the begin 
ning of the post-pliocene period. 

The map, fig. 39, p. 276, will give some idea of the great 
extent of land which would be submerged, were we to infer, 
as many geologists have done, from the joint evidence of 
marine shells, erratics, glacial striae and stratified drift at 
great heights, that Scotland was, during part of the glacial 
period, 2,000 feet below its present level, and other parts of 
the British Isles, 1,300 feet. A subsidence to this amount 
can be demonstrated in the case of North Wales by marine 
shells (see above, p. 267). In the lake district of Cumberland 
and Yorkshire," and in Ireland, we must depend on proofs 
derived from glacial striae and the transportation of erratics 
for so much of the supposed submergence as exceeds 600 
feet. As to central England, or the country north of the 
Thames and Bristol Channel, marine shells of the glacial 
period sometimes reach as high as 600 and 700 feet, and 
erratics still higher, as we have seen above (p. 270). But 

* Joshua Trimmer, Quarterly Geological Journal, vol. ix. plate xiii. 1853. 


this region is of such moderate elevation above the sea, that 
it would be almost equally laid under water, were there a 
sinking of no more than 600 feet. 

To make this last proposition clear, I have constructed, 
from numerous documents, many of them unpublished, the 
map, fig. 40, given at p. 278, which shows how that small 
amount of subsidence would reduce the whole of the British 
Isles to an archipelago of very small islands, with the excep 
tion of parts of Scotland, and the north of England and Wales, 
where four islands of considerable dimensions would still 

As to the district south of the Thames and the Bristol 
Channel, it seems to have remained land during the whole of 
the glacial period at a time when the northern area was 
under water. 

The map, fig. 40, p. 278, just alluded to, represents 
simply the effects of a downward movement of a hundred 
fathoms, or 600 English feet, supposed to have been uniform 
over the whole of the British Isles. It shows the very dif 
ferent state of the physical geography of the area in question, 
when contrasted with the results of an opposite movement, 
or one of upheaval, to an equal amount, of which Sir Henry 
de la Beche had already given us a picture (from which I 
have borrowed the map, fig. 41, p. 279), in his excellent 
treatise called ' Theoretical Eesearches.' * 

If we are surprised when looking at the first map, fig. 40 
at the vast expanse of sea which so moderate a subsidence 
as 600 feet would cause, we shall probably be still more 
astonished to perceive, in fig. 41, that a rise of the same 
number of feet would unite all the British Isles, including 
the Hebrides, Orkneys, and Shetlands, with one another and 
the continent, and lay dry the sea now separating Great 
Britain from Sweden and Denmark. 

* Also repeated in De la Beche' s Geological Observer. 
T 2 



Fig. 39 


The submergence of Scotland is to the extent of 2,000 feet, and of 
other parts of the British Isles, 1,300. 

In the map, the dark shade expresses the land which alone remained 
above water. The area shaded by diagonal lines is that which cannot be 
shown to have been under water at the period of floating ice by the evi 
dence of erratics, or by marine shells of northern species. How far the 
several parts of the submerged area were simultaneously or successively 
laid under water, 'in the course of the glacial period, cannot, in the present 
state of our knowledge, be determined. 


It appears from soundings made during various Admiralty 
surveys, that the gained land thus brought above the level of 
the sea, instead of presenting a system of hills and valleys 
corresponding with those usually characterising the interior 
of most of our island, would form a nearly level terrace, or 
gently inclined plane, sloping outwards like those terraces of 
denudation and deposition which I have elsewhere described 
as occurring on the coasts of Sicily and the Morea.* 

It seems that, during former and perhaps repeated oscil 
lations of level undergone by the British Isles, the sea has 
had time to cut back the cliffs for miles in many places, 
while in others the detritus derived from wasting cliffs 
drifted along the shores, together with the sediment brought 
down by rivers and swept by currents into submarine valleys, 
has exerted a levelling power, filling up such depressions as 
may have pre-existed. Owing to this twofold action few 
marked inequalities of level have been left on the sea-bottom, 
the s silver-pits ' off the mouth of the Humber offering a 
rare exception to the general rule, and even there the narrow 
depression is less than 300 feet in depth. 

Beyond the 100 fathom line, the submarine slope sur 
rounding the British coast is so much steeper that a second 
elevation of equal amount (or of 600 feet) would add but 
slightly to the area of gained land ; in other words, the 100 
and 200 fathom lines run very near each other. -j" 

The naturalist would have been entitled to assume the 
former union, within the post-pliocene period, of all the British 
Isles with each other and with the continent, as expressed in 
the map, fig. 41, even if there had been no geological facts in 
favour of such a junction. For in no other way would he be 
able to account for the identity of the fauna and flora found 
throughout these lands. Had they been separated ever since 

* Manual of Greology, p. 74. 

f De la Beche, Geological Kesearches, p. 191. 



'Fig. 40 


OF 600 FEET. 

The authorities to whom I am indebted for the information contained in this 
map are for 

SCOTLAND. A. Geikie, Esq., F.G.S. and T. F. Jamieson, Esq., of Ellon, Aber- 

ENGLAND. For the counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Durham 

Col. Sir Henry James, E.E. 

Dorsetshire, Hampshire, and Isle of Wight H. W. Bristow, Esq. 
Gloucestershire, Somersetshire, and part of Devon E. Etheridge, Esq. 
Kent and Sussex Frederick Drew, Esq. 
, Isle of Man W. Whitaker, Esq. 

IRELAND. Eeduced from a contour map constructed by Lieut. Larcom, E.E., 
in 1837, for the Eailway Commissioners. 


Fig. 41 



The darker shade expresses what is now land, the lighter shade the sj 
intervening between the present coast line and the 100 fathom line, wl 
would be converted by such a movement into land. 


the miocene period, like Madeira, Porto Santo, and the 
Desertas, constituting the small Madeiran Archipelago, we 
might have expected to discover a difference in the species 
of land-shells, not only when Ireland was compared to Eng 
land, but when different islands of the Hebrides were con 
trasted one with another, and each of them with England. 
It would not, however, be necessary, in order to effect the 
complete fusion of the animals and plants which we witness, 
to assume that all parts of the area formed continuous land 
at one and the same moment of time, but merely that the 
several portions were so joined within the post-pliocene era 
as to allow the animals and plants to migrate freely in 
succession from one district to another. 

Southernmost Extent of Erratics in England. 

In reference to that portion of the south of England which 
is marked by diagonal lines in the map at p. 260, the theory 
of its having been an area of dry land during the period of 
great submergence and floating-ice does not depend merely 
on negative evidence, such as the absence of the northern 
drift or boulder clay on its surface ; but we have also, in favour 
of the same conclusion, the remarkable fact of the presence of 
erratic blocks on the southern coast of Sussex, implying the 
existence there of an ancient coast-line at a period when the 
cold must have been at its height. 

These blocks are to be seen in greatest number at 
Pagham and Selsea, fifteen miles south of Chichester, in 
lat. 5040'N. 

They consist of fragments of granite, syenite, and green 
stone, as well as of Devonian and Silurian rocks, some of 
them of large size. I measured one of granite at Pagham, 
twenty-seven feet in circumference. They are not of nor 
thern origin, but must have come from the coast of Nor- 


mandy or Brittany, from land which may. once have existed 
to the south-west, in what is now the English Channel. 

They were probably drifted into their present site by coast 
ice, and the yellow clay and gravel in which they are em 
bedded are a littoral formation, as shown by the shells. 
Beneath the gravel containing these large erratics, is a blue 
mud in which skeletons of Elephas antiquus, and other 
mammalia, have been observed. Still lower occurs a sandy 
loam, from which Mr. E. Gr. Austen* has collected thirty- 
eight species of marine shells, all recent, but forming an 
assemblage differing as a whole from that now inhabiting 
the English Channel. The presence among them of Lutraria 
rugosa and Pecten polymorphus, not known to range 
farther north in the actual seas than the coast of Portugal, 
indicates a somewhat warmer temperature at the time when 
they flourished. Subsequently, there must have been great 
cold when the Selsea erratics were drifted" into their present 
position, and this cold doubtless coincided in time with a low 
temperature farther north. These transported rocks of Sussex 
are somewhat older than a sea-beach with recent marine 
shells which at Brighton is covered by chalk rubble, called 
the ( elephant-bed,' which I cannot describe in this place, but 
allude to it as one of many geological proofs of the former 
existence of a seashore in this region, and of ancient cliffs 
bounding the channel between France and England, all of 
older date than the close of the glacial period. 

In order to form a connected view of the most simple 
series of changes in physical geography which can possibly 
account for the phenomena of the glacial period, and the 
period of the establishment of the present provinces of animals 
and plants, the following geographical states of the British 
and adjoining areas may be enumerated. 

* Geological Quarterly Journal, TO!, xiii. p. 50. 


First, a continental period, towards the close of which the 
forest of Cromer flourished (p. 214) : when the land was at 
least 500 feet above its present level, perhaps much higher, and 
its extent probably greater than that given in the map, fig. 41. 

Secondly, a period of submergence, by which the land 
north of the Thames and Bristol Channel, and that of Ireland, 
was gradually reduced to such an archipelago as is pictured 
in map, fig. 40 ; and finally to such a general prevalence of 
sea as is seen in map, fig. 39. This was the period of great 
submergence and of floating ice, when the Scandinavian flora, 
which occupied the lower grounds during the first continental 
period, may have obtained exclusive possession of the only 
lands not covered with perpetual snow. 

Thirdly, a second continental period when the bed of the 
glacial sea, with its marine shells and erratic blocks, was laid 
dry, and when the quantity of land equalled that of the first 
period, and therefore probably exceeded that represented in 
the map, p. 279. During this period there were glaciers in 
the higher mountains of Scotland and Wales, and the Welsh 
glaciers, as we have seen, pushed before them and cleared 
out the marine drift with which some valleys had been filled 
during the period of submergence. The parallel roads of 
Grlen Eoy are referable to some part of the same era. 

As a reason for presuming that the land which in map, 
fig. 41, p. 279, is only represented as 600 feet above its present 
level, was during part of this period much higher, Professor 
Ramsay has suggested that, as the previous depression far 
exceeded a hundred fathoms (amounting in Wales to 1,400 
feet, as shown by marine shells, and to 2,300, by stratified 
drift), it is not improbable that the upward movement was on 
a corresponding scale. 

In passing from the period of chief submergence to this 
second continental condition of things, we may conceive a 
gradual change first from that of map 39 to map 40, then 


from the latter phase to that of map 41, and finally to still 
greater accessions of land. During this last period the 
passage of the Germanic flora into the British area took place, 
and the Scandinavian plants, together with northern insects, 
birds, and quadrupeds, retreated into the higher grounds. 

The first appearance of man, when, together with the mam 
moth and woolly rhinoceros, or with the Elephas antiquus, 
Rhinoceros liemitwchus, and Hippopotamus major, he ranged 
freely from all parts of the continent into the British area, 
belongs probably to a late portion of this second continental 

Fourthly, the next and last change comprised the break 
ing up of the land of the British area once more into nu 
merous islands, ending in the present geographical condition 
of things. There were probably many oscillations of level 
during this last conversion of continuous land into islands, 
and such movements in opposite directions would account for 
the occurrence of marine shells at moderate heights above 
the level of the sea, notwithstanding a general lowering of the 
land. To the close of this era belong the marine deposits of 
the Clyde and the Carses of the Tay and Forth, before alluded 
to, pp. 47, 51, 54. 

In a memoir by Professor E. Forbes, before cited, he 
observes, that the land of passage by which the plants and 
animals migrated into Ireland consisted of the upraised 
marine drift which had previously formed the bottom of the 
glacial sea. Portions of this drift extend to the eastern shores 
of Wicklow and Wexford, others are found in the Isle of Man 
full of arctic shells, others on the British coast opposite 
Ireland. The freshwater marl, containing numerous skeletons 
of the great deer, or Megaceros, overlie in the Isle of Man that 
marine glacial drift. Professor Forbes also remarks that the 
subsequent disjunction of Ireland from England, or the for 
mation of the St. George's Channel, which is less than 400 


feet in its greatest depth, preceded the opening of the Straits 
of Dover, or the final separation of England from the Conti 
nent. This he inferred from the present distribution of 
species both in the animal and vegetable kingdoms. Thus 
for example, there are twice as many reptiles in Belgium as 
in England, and the number inhabiting England is twice 
that found in Ireland. Yet the Irish species are all com 
mon to England, and all the English to Belgium. It is there 
fore assumed that the migration of species westward having 
been the work of time, there was not a sufficient lapse of ages 
to complete the fusion of the continental and British rep 
tilian fauna, before France was separated from England and 
England from Ireland. 

For the same reason there are also a great number of birds 
of short flight, and small quadrupeds, inhabiting England 
which do not cross to Ireland, the St. Greorge's Channel 
seeming to have arrested them in their westward course.* 

The depth of the St. Greorge's Channel in the narrower 
parts is only 360 feet, and the English Channel between 
Dover and Calais less than 200, and rarely anywhere 
more than 300 feet ; so that vertical movements of slight 
amount compared to some of those previously considered, 
with the aid of denuding operations or the waste of sea cliffs, 
and the scouring out of the channel, might in time effect the 
insulation of the lands above alluded to. 

Time required for successive Changes in Physical Geo 
graphy in the Post-Pliocene Period. 

The time which it would require to bring about such 
changes of level, according to the average rate assumed at 
p. 58, however vast, will not be found to exceed that which 

* E. Forbes, Fauna and Flora of British Isles ; Memoirs of Geological Survey, 
Tol. i. p. 344, 1846. 


would best explain the successive fluctuations in terrestrial 
temperature, the glaciation of solid rocks, the transpor 
tation of erratics above and below the sea level, the height 
of arctic shells above the sea, and last, not least, the migra 
tion of the existing species of animals and plants into their 
actual stations, and the extinction of some conspicuous 
forms which flourished during the post-pliocene ages. When 
we duly consider all these changes which have taken place 
since the beginning of the glacial epoch, or since the Forest 
of Cromer and the Elephas meridionalis flourished, we shall 
find that the phenomena become more and more intelligible 
in proportion to the slowness of the rate of elevation and 
depression which we assume. 

The submergence of Wales to the extent of 1,400 feet, as 
proved by glacial shells, would require 56,000 years, at the 
rate of 2 j- feet per century ; but taking Professor Eamsay's 
estimate of 800 feet more, as stated at p. 267, that elevation 
being required for the deposition of some of the stratified drift, 
we must demand an additional period of 32,000 years, amount 
ing in all to 88,000 ; and the same time would be required for 
the re-elevation of the tract to its present height. But if the 
land rose in the second continental period no more than 
600 feet above the present level, as in map, p. 279, this 600 
feet would have taken another 26,000 years ; the whole of the 
grand oscillation, comprising the submergence and re-emer 
gence, having taken, in round numbers, 180,000 years for its 
completion ; and this, even if there were no pause or stationary 
period, when the downward movement ceased, and before it 
was converted into an upward one. 

I am aware that it may be objected that the average rate 
here proposed is a purely arbitrary and conjectural one, 
because, at the North Cape, it is supposed that there has been 
a rise of about six feet in a century, and at Spitzbergen, 
according to Mr. Lamont, a still faster upheaval during the 


last 400 years.* But, granting that in these and some ex 
ceptional cases (none of them as yet very well established) 
the rising or sinking has, for a time, been accelerated, I do 
not believe the average rate of motion to exceed that above 
proposed. Mr. Darwin, I find, considers that such a mean 
rate of upheaval would be as high as we could assume for 
the west coast of South America, where we have more evidence 
of sudden changes of level than anywhere else. He has 
not, however, attempted to estimate the probable rate of 
secular elevation in that or any other region. 

Little progress has yet been made in divining the most 
probable causes of these great movements of the earth's crust ; 
yet what little we know of the state of the interior leads us 
to expect that the gradual expansion or contraction of large 
portions of the solid crust may be the result of fluctuations in 
temperature, with which the existence of hundreds of active 
and thousands of extinct volcanoes is probably connected. 

It is ascertained that solid rocks, such as granite and 
sandstone, expand and contract annually, even under such 
a moderate range of temperature as that of a Canadian 
winter and summer. If the heat should go on increasing 
through a thickness, say only of ten miles of the earth's 
crust, the gradual upheaval . of the incumbent mass may 
amount to many hundreds of feet ; and the elevation may be 
carried still farther, by the complete fusion of part of the 
inferior rocks. 

According to the experiments of Deville, the contraction 
of granite, in passing from a melted, or as some would say its 
plastic condition, to a solid state, must be more than ten 
per cent.f So that we have at our command a source of 
depression on a grand scale, at every period when granitic 

* Seasons with the Sea-Horses, p. 202. 

f Bulletin de la Societe Greologique, 2nd series, vol. iv. p. 1312. 


rocks have originated in the interior of the earth's crust. 
All mineralogists are agreed that the passage of voluminous 
masses, from a liquid or pasty to a solid and crystalline 
state, must be an extremely slow process. It may often 
happen that, in the same series of superimposed rocks, some 
are expanding while still solid or while partially melting, while 
others are at the same time crystallising and contracting ; so 
that the alterations of level at the surface may be the result 
of complicated and often of conflicting agencies. The more 
gradually we conceive such changes to take place, the more 
comprehensible they become in the eyes of the chemist 
and natural philosopher who speculates on the changes of 
the earth's interior ; and the more fertile are they in the 
hands of the geologist in accounting for revolutions on the 
habitable surface. 

We may presume, that after the movement has gone on for 
a long time in one determinate direction, whether of eleva 
tion or depression, the change to an opposite movement, 
implying the substitution of a heating for a refrigerating 
operation, or the reverse, would not take place suddenly ; but 
would be marked by a period of inaction, or of slight move 
ment, or such a state of quiescence, as prevails throughout 
large areas of dry land in the normal condition of the 

I see no reason for supposing that any part of the revo 
lutions in physical geography, to which the maps above 
described have reference, indicate any catastrophes greater 
than those which the present generation has witnessed. If 
man was in existence when the Cromer forest was becoming 
submerged, he would have felt no more alarm than the 
Danish settlers on the east coast of Baffin's Bay, when they 
found the poles, which they had driven into the beach to 
secure their boats, had subsided below their original level. 

Already, perhaps, the melting ice has thrown down till 


and boulders upon those poles, a counterpart of the boulder 
clay which overlies the forest-bed on the Norfolk cliffs. 

We have seen that all the plants and shells, marine and 
freshwater, of the forest bed, and associated fluvio-marine 
strata of Norfolk, are specifically identical with those of the 
living European flora and fauna ; so that if upon such a 
stratum a deposit of the present period, whether freshwater 
or marine, should be thrown down, it might lie conformably 
over it, and contain the same invertebrate fauna and flora. 
The strata so superimposed would, in ordinary geological 
language, be called contemporaneous, not only as belonging 
to the same epoch, but as appertaining strictly to the same 
subdivision of one and the same epoch ; although they would 
in fact have been separated by an interval of several hundred 
thousand years. 

If, in the lower of the two formations, some of the 
mammalia of the genera elephant and rhinoceros were 
found to be distinct in species from those of the same genera 
in the upper or ' recent ' stratum, it might appear as though 
there had been a sudden coming in of new forms, and a 
sudden dying out of old ones; for there would not have 
been time in the interval for any perceptible change in the 
invertebrate fauna, by which alone we usually measure the 
lapse of time in the older formations. 

When we are contrasting the vertebrate contents of two 
sets of superimposed strata of the cretaceous, oolitic, or any 
other ancient formation in which the shells are identical in 
species, we ought never to lose sight of the possibility of 
their having been separated by such intervals or by two or three 
thousand centuries. That number of years may sometimes 
be of small moment in reference to the rate of fluctuation of 
species in the lower animals, but very important when the 
succession of forms in the highest classes of vertebrata is 


If we reflect on the long series of events of the post- 
pliocene and recent periods contemplated in this chapter, it 
will be remarked that the time assigned to the first appear 
ance of man, so far as our geological inquiries have yet gone, is 
extremely modern in relation to the age of the existing fauna 
and flora, or even to the time when most of the living species 
of animals and plants attained their actual geographical 
distribution. At the same time it will also be seen, that if 
the advent of man in Europe occurred before the close of 
the second continental period, and antecedently to the se 
paration of Ireland from England and of England from the 
continent, the event would be sufficiently remote to cause the 
historical period to appear quite insignificant in duration, 
when compared to the antiquity of the human race. 











Extinct Glaciers of Switzerland. 

WE have seen in the preceding chapters that the mountains 
of Scandinavia, Scotland, and North Wales have served, 
during the glacial period, as so many independent centres 
for the dispersion of erratic blocks, just as at present the ice- 
covered continent of North Greenland is sending down ice 
in all directions to the coast, and filling Baffin's Bay with 
floating bergs, many of them laden with fragments of rocks. 

Another great European centre of ice-action during the post- 
pliocene period was the Alps of Switzerland, and I shall now 
proceed to consider the chronological relations of the extinct 
Alpine glaciers to those of more northern countries pre 
viously treated of. 

The Alps lie far south of the limits of the northern drift 
described in the foregoing pages, being situated between the 
44th and 47th degrees of north latitude. On the flanks of 
these mountains, and on the sub Alpine ranges of hills or 


plains adjoining them, those appearances which have been 
so often alluded to, as distinguishing or accompanying the 
drift, between the 50th and 70th parallels of north latitude, 
suddenly reappear and assume, in a southern region, a truly 
arctic development. Where the Alps are highest, the largest 
erratic blocks have been sent forth; as, for example, from 
the regions of Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa, into the adjoin 
ing parts of Switzerland and Italy ; while in districts where 
the great chain sinks in altitude, as in Carinthia, Carniola, 
and elsewhere, no such rocky fragments, or a few only and 
of smaller bulk, have been detached and transported to a 

In the year 1821, M. Venetz first announced his opinion 
that the Alpine glaciers must formerly have extended far 
beyond their present limits, and the proofs appealed to by 
him in confirmation of this doctrine were afterwards ac 
knowledged by M. Charpentier, who strengthened them by 
new observations and arguments, and declared, in 1836, his 
conviction that the glaciers of the Alps must once have 
reached as far as the Jura, and have carried thither their 
moraines across the great valley of Switzerland. M. Agassiz, 
after several excursions in the Alps with M. Charpentier, 
and after devoting himself some years to the study of glaciers, 
published, in 1840, an admirable description of them and of 
the marks which attest the former action of great masses of 
ice over the entire surface of the Alps and the surrounding 
country.* He pointed out that the surface of every large 
glacier is strewed over with gravel and stones detached from 
the surrounding precipices by frost, rain, lightning, or ava 
lanches. And he described more carefully than preceding 
writers the long lines of these stones, which settle on the 
sides of the glacier, and are called the lateral moraines ; those 

* Agassiz, Etudes sur les Glaciers et Systeme Grlaciaire. 
u 2 


found at the lower end of the ice being called terminal 
moraines. Such heaps of earth and boulders every glacier 
pushes before it when advancing, and leaves behind it when 
retreating. When the Alpine glacier reaches a lower and 
a warmer situation, about 3,000 or 4,000 feet above the sea, 
it melts so rapidly that, in spite of the downward movement 
of the mass, it can advance no farther. Its precise limits are 
variable from year to year, and still more so from century to 
century ; one example being on record of a recession of half 
a mile in a single year. We also learn from M. Venetz, that 
whereas, between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries, all the 
Alpine glaciers were less advanced than now, they began in 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to push forward, so 
as to cover roads formerly open, and to overwhelm forests of 
ancient growth. 

These oscillations enable the geologist to note the marks 
which a glacier leaves behind it as it retrogrades ; and among 
these the most prominent, as before stated, are the terminal 
moraines, or mounds of unstratified earth and stones, often 
divided by subsequent floods into hillocks, which cross the 
valley like ancient earth-works, or embankments made to 
dam up a river. Some of these transverse barriers were 
formerly pointed out by Saussure below the glacier of the 
Rhone, as proving how far it had once transgressed its present 
boundaries. On these moraines we see many large angular 
fragments, which, having been carried along the surface of 
the ice, have not had their edges worn off by friction ; but 
the greater number of the boulders, even those of large size, 
have been well rounded, not by the power of water, but by 
the mechanical force of the ice, which has pushed them 
against each other, or against the rocks flanking the valley. 
Others have fallen down the numerous fissures which intersect 
the glacier, where, being subject to the pressure of the whole 
mass of ice, they have been forced along, and either well 


rounded or ground down into sand, or even the finest mud, 
of which the moraine is largely constituted. 

As the terminal moraines are the most prominent of all the 
monuments left by a receding glacier, so are they the most 
liable to obliteration ; for violent floods or debacles are some 
times occasioned in the Alps by the sudden bursting of 
glacier-lakes, or those temporary sheets of water before al 
luded to, which are caused by the damming up of a river by 
a glacier which has increased during a succession of cold 
seasons, and descending from a tributary into the main valley, 
has crossed it from side to side. On the failure of this icy 
barrier, the accumulated waters, being let loose, sweep away 
and level many a transverse mound of gravel and loose 
boulders below, and spread their materials in confused and 
irregular beds over the river-plain. 

Another mark of the former action of glaciers, in situa 
tions where they exist no longer, is the polished, striated, and 
grooved surfaces of rocks before described. Stones which lie 
underneath the glacier and are pushed along by it, sometimes 
adhere to the ice, and as the mass glides slowly along at the 
rate of a few inches, or at the utmost two or three feet, per 
day, abrade, groove, and polish the rock, and the larger 
blocks are reciprocally grooved and polished by the rock on 
their lower sides. As the forces both of pressure and propul 
sion are enormous, the sand, acting like emery, polishes the 
surface ; the pebbles, like coarse gravers, scratch and furrow 
it ; and the large stones scoop out grooves in it. Lastly, pro 
jecting eminences of rock, called 'roches moutonnees' (see 
above, p. 269), are smoothed and worn into the shape of 
flattened domes where the glaciers have passed over them. 

Although the surface of almost every kind of rock, when 
exposed to the open air, wastes away by decomposition, yet 
some retain for ages their polished and furrowed exterior : 
and, if they are well protected by a covering of clay or turf, 


these marks of abrasion seem capable of enduring for ever. 
They have been traced in the Alps to great heights above the 
present glaciers, and to great horizontal distances beyond 

Another effect of a glacier is to lodge a ring of stones 
round the summit of a conical peak which may happen to 
project through the ice. If the glacier is lowered greatly by 
melting, these circles of large angular fragments, which are 
called ' perched blocks,' are left in a singular situation near 
the top of a steep hill or pinnacle, the lower parts of which 
may be destitute of boulders. 

Alpine erratic Blocks on the Jura. 

Now some or all the marks above enumerated, the mo 
raines, erratics, polished surfaces, domes, striae, and perched 
rocks are observed in the Alps at great heights above the 
present glaciers, and far below their actual extremities; also in 
the great valley of Switzerland, fifty miles broad ; and almost 
everywhere on the Jura, a chain which lies to the north of 
this valley. The average height of the Jura is about one- 
third that of the Alps, and it is now entirely destitute of 
glaciers; yet it presents almost everywhere moraines, and 
polished and grooved surfaces of rocks. The erratics, more 
over, which cover it present a phenomenon which has as 
tonished and perplexed the geologist for more than half a 
century. No conclusion can be more incontestable than that 
these angular blocks of granite, gneiss, and other crystalline 
formations, came from the Alps, and that they have been 
brought for a distance of fifty miles and upwards across one of 
the widest and deepest valleys of the world ; so that they are 
now lodged on the hills and valleys of a chain composed of 
limestone and other formations, altogether distinct from those 
of the Alps. Their great size and angularity, after a journey 


of so many leagues, has justly excited wonder, for hundreds 
of them are as large as cottages ; and one in particular, com 
posed of gneiss, celebrated under the name of Pierre a Bot, 
rests on the side of a hill about 900 feet above the lake of 
Neufchatel, and is no less than forty feet in diameter. But 
there are some far-transported masses of granite and gneiss 
which are still larger, and which have been found to contain 
50,000 and 60,000 cubic feet of stone ; and one limestone block 
at Devens, near Bex, which has travelled thirty miles, contains 
161,000 cubic feet, its angles being sharp and unworn. 

Von Buch, Escher, and Studer inferred, from an exami 
nation of the mineral composition of the boulders, that those 
resting on the Jura, opposite the lakes of Greneva and Neuf- 
chatel, have come from the region of Mont Blanc and the 
Valais, as if they had followed the course of the Bhone, to the 
lake of Greneva, and had then pursued their way uninter 
ruptedly in a northerly direction. 

M. Charpentier, who conceived the Alps in the period of 
greatest cold to have been higher by several thousand feet 
than they are now, had already suggested that the Alpine 
glaciers once reached continuously to the Jura, conveying 
thither the large erratics in question.* M. Agassiz, on the 
other hand, instead of introducing distinct and separate 
glaciers, imagined that the whole valley of Switzerland might 
have been filled with ice, and that one great sheet of it ex 
tended from the Alps to the Jura, the two chains being of the 
same height as now relatively to each other. To this idea it 
was objected that the difference of altitude, when distributed 
over a space of 50 miles, would give an inclination of 
two degrees only, or far less than that of any known 
glacier. In spite of this difficulty, the hypothesis has since 
received the support of Professor James Forbes, in his very 
able work on the Alps, published in 1843. 

* D'Arduac, Histoire des Progress, &c. torn. ii. p. 249. 


In 1841, I advanced, jointly with Mr. Darwin,* the theory 
that the erratics may have been transferred by floating ice to 
the Jura, at the time when the greater part of that chain, and 
the whole of the Swiss valley to the south, was under the sea. 
We pointed out, that if at that period the Alps had attained 
only half their present altitude, they would yet have con 
stituted a chain as lofty as the Chilian Andes, which, in a 
latitude corresponding to Switzerland, now send down glaciers 
to the head of every sound, from which icebergs, covered with 
blocks of granite, are floated seaward. Opposite that part of 
Chili where the glaciers abound, is situated the island of 
Chiloe, one hundred miles in length, with a breadth of thirty 
miles, running parallel to the continent. The channel which 
separates it from the main land is of considerable depth, and 
twenty-five miles broad. Parts of its surface, like the adja 
cent coast of Chili, are overspread with recent marine shells, 
showing an upheaval of the land during a very modern period ; 
and beneath these shells is a boulder deposit, in which 
Mr. Darwin found large blocks of granite and syenite, which 
had evidently come from the Andes. 

A continuance in future of the elevatory movement, now 
observed to be going on in this region of the Andes and of 
Chiloe, might cause the former chain to rival the Alps in 
altitude, and give to Chiloe a height equal to that of the Jura. 
The same rise might dry up the channel between Chiloe and 
the main land, so that it would then represent the great 
valley of Switzerland. 

Sir Koderick I. Murchison, after making several impor 
tant geological surveys of the Alps, proposed, in 1849, a 
theory agreeing essentially with that suggested by Mr. Dar 
win and myself, viz. that the erratics were transported to the 
Jura, at a time when the great strath of Switzerland, and 

* See Elements of Geology, 2nd ed. 1841. 


many valleys receding far into the Alps, were under water. 
He thought it impossible that the glacial detritus of the 
Rhone could ever have been carried to the Lake of Geneva, 
and beyond it by a glacier, or that so vast a body of ice 
issuing from one narrow valley could have spread its erratics 
over the low country of the Cantons of Vaud, Friburg, Berne, 
and Soleure, as well as the slopes of the Jura, comprising a 
region of about a hundred miles in breadth from south-west 
to north-east, as laid down in the map of Charpentier. He 
therefore imagined the granitic blocks to have been trans 
lated to the Jura by ice- floats when the intermediate country 
was submerged.* It may be remarked that this theory, pro 
vided the water be assumed to have been salt or brackish, 
demands quite as great an oscillation in the level of the land 
as that on which Charpentier had speculated, the only differ 
ence being that the one hypothesis requires us to begin with 
a subsidence of 2,500 or 3,000 feet, and the other, with an 
elevation to the same amount. We should also remember 
that the crests or watersheds of the Alps and Jura are about 
eighty miles apart, and if once we suppose them to have been 
in movement during the glacial period, it is very probable 
that the movements at such a distance may not have been 
strictly uniform. If so, the Alps may have been relatively 
somewhat higher, which would greatly have facilitated the 
extension of Alpine glaciers to the flanks of the less elevated 

Five years before the publication of the memoir last men 
tioned, M. Oruyot had brought forward a great body of new 
facts in support of the original doctrine of Charpentier, that 
the Alpine glaciers once reached as far as the Jura, and that 
they had deposited thereon a portion of their moraines.f 
The scope of his observations and argument was laid with 

* Quarterly Geological Journal, f Bulletin de la Societe des Sciences 

1850, vol. vi. p. 65. Naturelles de Neufchatel, 1845. 


great clearness before the British public in 1852 by Mr. 
Charles Maclaren, who had himself visited Switzerland for 
the sake of forming an independent opinion on a theoretical 
question of so much interest, and on which so many eminent 
men of science had come to such opposite conclusions.* 

M. Gruyot had endeavoured to show that the Alpine erratics, 
instead of being scattered at random over the Jura and the 
great plain of Switzerland, are arranged in a certain deter 
minate order, strictly analogous to that which ought to 
prevail if they had once constituted the lateral, medial, and 
terminal moraines of great glaciers. The rocks chiefly relied 
on as evidence of this distribution consist of three varieties of 
granite, besides gneiss, chlorite-slate, euphotide, serpentine, 
and a peculiar kind of conglomerate, all of them mineral 
compounds, foreign alike to the great strath between the 
Alps and Jura, and to the structure of the Jura itself. In 
these two regions, limestones, sandstones, and clays of the 
secondary and tertiary formations alone crop out at the surface, 
so that the travelled fragments of Alpine origin can easily 
be distinguished, and in some cases the precise localities 
pointed out from whence they must have come. 

The accompanying map or diagram, slightly altered from 
one given by Mr. Maclaren, will enable the reader more 
fully to appreciate the line of argument relied on by M. 
Gruyot. The dotted area is that over which the Alpine 
fragments were spread by the supposed extinct glacier of the 
Khone. The site of the present reduced glacier of that name 
is shown at A. From that point, the boulders may first be 
traced to B, or Martigny, where the valley takes an abrupt 
turn at right angles to its former course. Here the blocks 
belonging to the right side of the river, or derived from c, d, e, 
have not crossed over to the left side at B, as they should 

* Edinburgh. New Philosophical Magazine, October 1852. 



have done had they been transported by floating ice, but 
continue to keep to the side to which they belonged, assum- 

Fig. 42 


ing that they once formed part of a right lateral moraine of 
a great extinct glacier. That glacier, after arriving at the 
lower end of the long narrow valley of the upper Khone at F, 
filled the lake of Geneva, F, I, with ice. From F, as from a 
great vomitory, it then radiated in all directions, bearing 
along with it the moraines with which it was loaded, and 
spreading them out on all sides over the great plain. But 


the principal icy mass moved straight onwards in a direct line 
towards the hill of Chasseron, G (precisely opposite F), where 
the Alpine erratics attain their maximum of height on the 
Jura, that is to say, 2,015 English feet above the level of the 
Lake of Neufchatel, or 3,450 feet above the sea. The granite 
blocks which have ascended to this eminence G, came from 
the east shoulder of Mont Blanc, A, having travelled in the 
direction B, F, G. 

When these and the accompanying blocks resting on the 
south-eastern declivity of the Jura are traced from their 
culminating point a, in opposite directions, whether westward 
towards Geneva, or eastwards towards Soleure, they are found 
to decline in height from the middle of the arc G, towards 
the two extremities I an<J K, both of which are at a lower 
level than G, by about 1,500 feet. In other words, the 
ice of the extinct glacier, having mounted up on the sloping 
flanks of the Jura in the line of greatest pressure to its highest 
elevation, began to decline laterally in the manner of a pliant 
or viscous mass, with a gentle inclination, till it reached two 
points distant from each other no less than 100 miles. 

In further confirmation of this theory, M. Gruyot observed 
that fragments derived from the right bank of the great valley 
of the Rhone, c, d, e, are found on the right side of the great 
Swiss basin or strath, as at I and m, while those derived from 
the left bank, p, h, occur on the left side of the basin, or on 
the Jura, between G and i; and those again derived from 
places farthest up on the left bank and nearest the source of 
the Rhone, as n o, occupy the middle of the great basin, con 
stituting, between m and K, what M. Gruyot calls the frontal 
or terminal moraine of the eastern prolongation of the old 

A huge boulder of talcose granite, now at Steinhoff, ten 
miles east fromK, or Soleure, containing 61,000 cubic French 
feet, or equal in bulk to a mass measuring 40 feet in every 


direction, was ascertained by Charpentier, from its com 
position, to have been derived from n, one of the highest 
points on the left side of the Rhone valley, far above 
Martigny. From this spot it must have gone all round 
by F, which is the only outlet to the deep valley, so as to 
have performed a journey of no less than 150 miles ! 

General Transportation of Erratics in Switzerland due to 
Glaciers and not to floating Ice. 

It is evident that the above described restriction of certain 
fragments of peculiar lithological character to that bank of 
the Rhone where the parent rocks are alone met with, and 
the linear arrangement of the blocks in corresponding order 
on the opposite side of the great plain of Switzerland, are 
facts, which harmonise singularly well with the theory of 
glaciers, while they are wholly irreconcilable with that of 
floating ice. Against the latter hypothesis, all the arguments 
which Charpentier originally brought forward in opposition 
to the first popular doctrine of a grand debacle, or sudden 
flood, rushing down from the Alps to the Jura, might be 
revived. Had there ever been such a rush of muddy water, 
said he, the blocks carried down the basins of the principal 
Swiss rivers, such as the Rhone, Aar, Reuss, and Limmat, 
would all have been mingled confusedly together instead of 
having each remained in separate and distinct areas as they 
do and should do according to the glacial hypothesis. 

M. Morlot presented me in 1857 with an unpublished map 
of Switzerland in which he had embodied the results of 
his own observations, and those of MM. Gruyot, Escher, 
and others, marking out by distinct colours the limits of the 
ice-transported detritus proper to each of the great river- 
basins. The arrangement of the drift and erratics thus 
depicted accords perfectly well with Charpentier's views, and 


is quite irreconcilable with the supposition of the scattered 
blocks having been dispersed by floating ice when Switzerland 
was submerged. 

As opposed to the latter hypothesis, I may also state that 
nowhere as yet have any marine shells or other fossils than 
those of a terrestrial character, such as the bones of the 
mammoth, and a few other mammalia, and some coniferous 
wood, been detected in those drifts, though they are often 
many hundreds of feet in thickness. 

A glance at M. Morlot's map, above alluded to,* will show 
that the two largest areas, indicated by a single colour, are 
those over which the Ehone and the Ehine are supposed 
to have spread out in ancient times their enormous moraines. 
One of these only, that of the Ehone, has been exhibited 
in our diagram, fig. 42, p. 299. The distinct character 
of the drift in the two cases is such as it would be if 
two colossal glaciers should now come down from the higher 
Alps through the valleys traversed by those rivers, leaving 
their moraines in the low country. The space occupied 
by the glacial drift of the Ehine is equal in dimensions, 
or rather exceeds, that of the Ehone, and its course is not 
interfered with in the least degree by the Lake of Constance, 
forty-five miles long, any more than is the dispersion of the 
erratics of the Ehone, by the Lake of Geneva, about fifty 
miles in length. The angular and other blocks have in both 
instances travelled on precisely as if those lakes had no 
existence, or as if, which was no doubt the case, they had 
been filled with solid ice. 

During my last visit to Switzerland in 1857, I made ex 
cursions, in company with several distinguished geologists, for 
the sake of testing the relative merits of the two rival theo 
ries above referred to, and examined parts of the Jura above 

* See map, Geological Quarterly Journal, vol. xviii. pi. 18, p. 185. 


Neufchatel in company with M. Desor, the country round 
Soleure with Mr. Langen, the southern side of the great 
strath near Lausanne with M. Morlot, the basin of the Aar, 
around Berne, with M. Escher von der Linth ; and having 
satisfied myself that all the facts which I saw north of the 
Alps were in accordance with M. Guyot's views, I crossed to 
the Italian side of the great chain, and became convinced 
'that the same theory was equally applicable to the ancient 
moraines of the plains of the Po. 

M. Escher pointed out to me at Trogen in Appenzel, on 
the left bank of the Ehine, fragments of a rock of a peculiar 
mineralogical character, commonly called the granite of Pon- 
telyas, the natural position of which is well known near 
Trons, a hundred miles from Trogen, on the left bank of the 
Ehine, about thirty miles from the source of that river. All 
the blocks of this peculiar granite keep to the left bank, even 
where the valley turns almost at right angles to its former 
course near Mayenfeld below Chur, making a sharp bend, 
resembling that of the valley of the Ehone at Martigny. 
The granite blocks, where they are traced to the low country, 
still keep to the left side of the Lake of Constance. That 
they should not have crossed over to the opposite river- 
bank below Chur is quite inexplicable, if, rejecting the aid 
of land-ice, we appeal to floating ice as the transporting 

In M. Morlot's map, already cited, we behold between the 
areas occupied by the glacial drift of the Ehine and Ehone 
three smaller yet not inconsiderable spaces, distinguished by 
distinct colours, indicating the peculiar detritus brought down 
by the three great rivers, the Aar, Eeuss, and Limmat. The 
ancient glacier of the first of these, the Aar, has traversed the 
lakes of Brienz and Thun, and has borne angular, polished 
and striated blocks of limestone and other rocks as far as 
Berne, and somewhat below that city. The Eeuss has also 


stamped the lithological character of its own mountainous 
region upon the lower part of its hydrographical basin by 
covering it with its peculiar Alpine drift. In like manner the 
old extinct glacier of the Limmat, during its gradual retreat, 
has left monuments of its course in the Lake of Zurich in the 
shape of terminal moraines, one of which has almost divided 
that great sheet of water into two lakes. 

The ice-work done by the extinct glaciers, as contrasted 
with that performed by their dwarfed representatives of the 
present day, is in due proportion to the relative volume of the 
supposed glaciers, whether we measure them by the distances 
to which they have carried erratic blocks, or the areas which 
they have strewed over with drift, or the hard surfaces of rock 
and number of boulders which they have polished and 
striated. Instead of a length of five, ten, or twenty miles 
and a thickness of 200, 300, or at the utmost 800 feet, those 
giants of the olden time must have been from 50 to 150 miles 
long, and between 1,000 and 3,000 feet deep. In like manner 
the glaciation, although identical in kind, is on so small a 
scale in the existing Alpine glaciers as at first sight to dis 
appoint a Swedish, Scotch, Welsh or North American geolo-; 
gist. When I visited the terminal moraine of the glacier of 
the Khone in 1859, and tried to estimate the number of 
angular or rounded pebbles and blocks which exhibited glacial 
polishing or scratches as compared to those bearing no such 
markings, I found that several thousand had to be reckoned 
before I arrived at the first which was so striated or polished 
as to differ from the stones of an ordinary torrent-bed. Even 
in the moraines of the glaciers of Zermatt, Viesch, and others, 
in which fragments of limestone and serpentine are abundant 
(rocks which most readily receive and most faithfully retain 
the signs of glaciation), I found, for one which displayed such 
indications, several hundreds entirely free from them. Of 
the most opposite character were the results obtained by me 


from a similar scrutiny of the boulders and pebbles of the ter 
minal moraine of one of the old extinct glaciers, namely, that 
of the Eh one in the suburbs of Soleure. Thus at the point 
K, in the map, fig. 42, p. 299, 1 observed a mass of unstratified 
clay or mud, through which a variety of angular and rubbed 
stones were scattered, and a marked proportion of the whole 
were polished and scratched, and the clay rendered so com 
pact, as if by the incumbent pressure of a great mass of ice, 
that it has been found necessary to blow it up with gun 
powder in making railway cuttings through part of it. A 
marble rock of the age of our Portland stone, on which this 
old moraine rests, has its surface polished like a looking-glass, 
displaying beautiful sections of fossil shells of the genera 
Nerinsea and Pteroceras, w r hile occasionally, besides finer 
striae, there are deep rectilinear grooves, agreeing in direction 
with the course in which the extinct glacier would have 
moved according to the theory of M. Ghiyot, before explained. 

Extinct Glaciers of the Italian Side of the Alps. 

To select another example from the opposite or southern 
side of the Alps. It will be seen in the elaborate map, re 
cently executed by Signer Gabriel de Mortillet, of the 
ancient glaciers of the Italian flank of the Alps, that the old 
moraines descend in narrow strips from the snow-covered 
ridges, through the principal valleys, to the great basin of the 
Po, on reaching which they expand and cover large circular 
or oval areas. Each of these groups of detritus is observed 
(see map, p. 306) to contain exclusively the wreck of such 
rocks as occur in situ on the Alpine heights of the hydro- 
graphical basins to which the moraines respectively belong. 

I had an opportunity of verifying this fact, in company with 
Signer Gastaldi as my guide, by examining the erratics and 
boulder formation between Susa and Turin, on the banks of 




the Dora Riparia, which brings down the waters from Mont 
Cenis, and from the Alps SW. of it. I there observed stria 
ted fragments of dolomite and gypsum, which had come 

Fig. 43 


From Map of the ancient Glaciers of the Italian side of the Alps by 
Signor Gabriel de Mortillet. 

A Crest or watershed of the Alps. 

B Snow-covered Alpine summits which fed the ancient glaciers. 

c Moraines of ancient or extinct glaciers. 


down from Mont Cenis, and had travelled as far as Avi- 
gliana ; also masses of serpentine, brought from less remote 
points, some of them apparently exceeding in dimensions 
the largest erratics of Switzerland. I afterwards visited, 
in company with Signori Grastaldi and Michellotti, a still 
grander display of the work of a colossal glacier of the olden 
time, twenty miles NE. of Turin, the moraine of which 
descended from the two highest of the Alps, Mont Blanc 
and Monte Rosa, and after passing through the valley of 
Aosta, issued from a narrow defile above Ivrea (see map, 
fig. 43). From this vomitory, the old glacier poured into 
the plains of the Po that wonderful accumulation of mud, 
gravel, boulders, and large erratics, which extend for fifteen 
miles from above Ivrea to below Caluso, and which, when 
seen in profile from Turin, have the aspect of a chain of 
hills. In many countries, indeed, they might rank as an im 
portant range of hills, for where they join the mountains they 
are more than 1,500 feet high, and retain more than half that 
height for a great part of their course, rising very abruptly 
from the plain, often with a slope of from 20 to 30. This 
glacial drift reposes near the mountains on ancient meta- 
morphic rocks, and farther from them on marine pliocene 
strata. Portions of the ridges of till and stratified matter 
have been cut up into mounds and hillocks by the action of 
the river, the Dora Baltea, and there are numerous lakes, so 
that the entire moraine much resembles, except in its greater 
height and width, the line of glacial drift of Perthshire and 
Forfarshire, before described, p. 248. Its complicated struc 
ture can only be explained by supposing that the ancient 
glacier advanced and retreated several times, and left large 
lateral moraines, the more modern mounds within the limits 
of the older ones, and masses of till thrown down upon the 
re-arranged and stratified materials of the first set of moraines. 
Such appearances accord well with the hypothesis of the 

x 2 


successive phases of glacial action in Switzerland, to which I 
shall presently advert. 

Contorted Strata of Glacial Drift south of Ivrea. 

At Mazze near Caluso (see map, p. 306), the southern 
extremity of this great moraine has recently been cut 
through in making a tunnel for the railway which runs from 
Turin to Ivrea. In the fine section thus exposed Signor 
Grastaldi and I had an opportunity of observing the internal 
structure of the glacial formation. In close juxtaposition to 
a great mass of till with striated boulders, we saw stratified 
beds of alternating gravel, sand, and loam, which were so 
sharply bent that many of them had been twice pierced 
through in the same vertical cutting. Whether they had 
been thus folded by the mechanical power of an advancing 
glacier, which had pushed before it a heap of stratified matter, 
as the glacier of Zermatt has been sometimes known to shove 
forward blocks of stone through the walls of houses, or 
whether the melting of masses of ice, once interstratified with 
sand and gravel, had given rise to flexures, in the manner 
before suggested, pp. 138 and 220 ; it is at least satisfactory 
to have detected this new proof of a close connection between 
ice-action and contorted stratification, such as has been 
described as so common in the Norfolk cliffs, p. 222, and 
which is also very often seen in Scotland and North America, 
where stratified gravel overlies till. I have little doubt that 
if the marine pliocene strata, which underlie a great part of the 
moraine below Ivrea, were exposed to view in a vertical section, 
those fundamental strata would be found not to participate in 
the least degree in the plications of the sands and gravels 
of the overlying glacial drift. 

To return to the marks of glaciation : in the moraine at 
Mazze, there are many large blocks of protogene, and large 


and small ones of limestone and serpentine, which have been 
brought down from Monte Kosa, through the gorge of Ivrea^ 
after having travelled for a distance of 100 miles. Confining 
my attention to a part of the moraine, where pieces of lime 
stone and serpentine were very numerous, I found that no less 
than one-third of the whole number bore unequivocal signs 
of glacial action ; a state of things which seems to bear some 
relation to the vast volume and pressure of the ice which 
once constituted the extinct glacier, and to the distance which 
the stones had travelled. When I separated the pebbles of 
quartz, which were never striated, and those of granite, mica 
schist, and diorite, which do not often exhibit glacial mark 
ings, and confined my attention to the serpentine alone, I 
found no less than nineteen in twenty of the whole number 
polished and scratched ; whereas in the terminal moraines of 
some modern glaciers, where the materials have travelled not 
more than ten or fifteen, instead of a hundred miles, scarce 
one in twenty even of the serpentine pebbles exhibit glacial 
polish and striation. 

Theory of the Origin of Lake-basins by the erosive Action of 
Glaciers, considered. 

Geologists are all agreed, that the last series of movements 
to which the Alps owe their present form and internal struc 
ture, occurred after the deposition of the miocene strata ; and 
it has been usual to refer the origin of the numerous lake- 
basins of Alpine and sub-Alpine regions, both in Switzerland 
and Northern Italy, to the same movements ; for it seemed 
not unnatural to suppose, that forces capable of modifying 
the configuration of the greatest European chain, by up 
lifting some of its component tertiary strata (those of marine 
origin of the miocene period) several thousand feet above 
their former level, after throwing them into vertical and 


contorted positions, must also have given rise to many super 
ficial inequalities, in some of which large bodies of water 
would collect. M. Desor, in a memoir on the Swiss and 
Italian lakes, suggested that they may have escaped being 
obliterated by sedimentary deposition, by having been filled 
with ice during the whole of the glacial period. 

Subsequently to the retreat of the great glaciers, we know 
that the lake-basins have been to a certain extent encroached 
upon and turned into land by river deltas ; one of which, that 
of the Rhone at the head of the lake of Geneva, is no less 
than twelve miles long and several miles broad, besides 
which there are many torrents on the borders of the same 
lake, forming smaller deltas. 

M. Gabriel de Mortillet, after a careful study of the glacial 
formations of the Alps, agreed with his predecessors, that the 
great lakes had existed before the glacial period, but came to 
the opinion, in 1859, that they had all been first filled up 
with alluvial matter, and then re-excavated by the action of 
ice, which, during the epoch of intense cold, had by its 
weight and force of propulsion, scooped out the loose and 
incoherent alluvial strata, even where they had accumulated 
to a thickness of 2,000 feet. Besides this erosion, the ice had 
carried the whole mass of mud and stones up the inclined 
planes, from the central depths to the lower outlets of the 
lakes, and sometimes far beyond them. As some of these 
rock-basins are 500, others more than 2,000 feet deep, having 
their bottoms in some cases 500, in others 1,000 feet below 
the level of the sea, and having areas from twenty to fifty 
miles in length and from four to twelve in breadth, we may 
well be startled at the boldness of this hypothesis. 

The following are the facts and train of reasoning which 
induced M. de Mortillet to embrace these views. At the 
lower ends of the great Italian lakes, such as Maggiore, Como, 
Garda and others, there are vast moraines which are proved 


by their contents to have come from the upper Alpine 
valleys above the lakes. Such moraines often repose on an 
older stratified alluvium, made up of rounded and worn 
pebbles of precisely the same rocks as those forming the 
moraines, but not derived from them, being small in size, 
never angular, polished, or striated, and the whole having 
evidently come from a great distance. These older alluvial 
strata must, according to M. de Mortillet, be of pre-glacial 
date, and could not have been carried past the sites of the 
lakes, unless each basin had previously been filled and 
levelled up with mud, sand, and gravel, so that the river 
channel was continuous from the upper to the lower extremity 
of each basin. 

Professor Eamsay, after acquiring an intimate knowledge 
of the glacial phenomena of the British Isles, had taught, 
many years before, that small tarns and shallow rock-basins, 
such as we see in many mountain regions, owe their origin 
to glaciers which erode the softer rocks, leaving the harder 
ones standing out in relief and comparatively unabraded. 
Following up this idea after he had visited Switzerland, and 
without any communication with M. de Mortillet or cog 
nizance of his views, he suggested in 1859 that the lake- 
basins were not of pre-glacial date, but had been scooped out 
by ice during the glacial period, the excavation having for 
the most part been effected in miocene sandstone, provincially 
called, on account of its softness, 4 molasse.' By this theory 
he dispensed with the necessity of filling up pre-existing 
cavities with stratified alluvium, in the manner proposed by 
M. de Mortillet. 

I will now explain to what extent I agree with, and on what 
points I feel compelled to differ from, the two distinguished 
geologists above cited. 1st. It is no doubt true, as Professor 
Eamsay remarks, that heavy masses of ice, creeping for ages 
over a surface of dry land (whether this comprise hills, 


plateaus and valleys, as in the case of Greenland, before 
described (p. 235), or be confined to the bottoms of great 
valleys, as now in the higher Alps), must often, by their grind 
ing action, produce depressions, in consequence of the different 
degrees of resistance offered by rocks of unequal hardness. 
Thus, for example, where quartzose beds of mica schist alternate 
with clay-slate, or where trap-dykes, often causing waterfalls in 
the courses of torrents, cut through sandstone or slate these 
and innumerable other common associations of dissimilar 
stony compounds, must give rise to a very unequal amount 
of erosion, and consequently to lake-basins on a small scale. 
But the larger the size of any lake, the more certain it will 
be to contain within it rocks of every degree of hardness, 
toughness, and softness ; and if we find a gradual deepening 
from the head towards the central parts, and a shallowing 
again from the middle to the lower end, as in several of the 
great Swiss and Italian lakes, which are thirty or forty miles 
in length, we require a power capable of acting with a con 
siderable degree of uniformity on these masses of varying 
powers of resistance. 

2ndly. Several of the great lakes are by no means in the 
line of direction which they ought to have taken had they 
been scooped out by the pressure and onward movement of 
the extinct glaciers. The Lake of Geneva, for instance, had 
it been the work of ice, would have been prolonged from the 
termination of the upper valley of the Ehone towards the 
Jura, in the direction from F to a of the map, fig. 42, 
p. 299, instead of running from F to I. 

Srdly. It has been ascertained experimentally, that in a 
glacier, as in a river, the rate of motion is accelerated or 
lessened, according to the greater or less slope of the ground ; 
also, that the lower strata of ice, like those of water, move 
more slowly than those above them. In the Lago Maggiore, 
which is more than 2,600 feet deep (797 metres), the ice, 


says Professor Kamsay, had to descend a slope of about 3 
for the first twenty-five miles, and then to ascend for the 
last twelve miles (from the deepest part towards the outlet), 
at an angle of 5. It is for those who are conversant with 
the dynamics of glacier motion to divine whether, in such a 
case, the discharge of ice would not be entirely effected by 
the superior and faster moving strata, and whether the 
lowest would not be motionless or nearly so, and would 
therefore exert very little, if any, friction on the bottom. 

4thly. But the gravest objection to the hypothesis of 
glacial erosion on so stupendous a scale is afforded by the 
entire absence of lakes of the first magnitude in several areas 
where they ought to exist if the enormous glaciers which 
once occupied those spaces had possessed the deep excavating 
power ascribed to them. Thus in the area laid down on 
the map, p. 306, or that covered by the ancient moraine 
of the Dora Baltea, we see the monuments of a colossal 
glacier derived from Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa, which 
descended from points nearly a hundred miles distant, and 
then emerging from the narrow gorge above Ivrea, deployed 
upon the plains of the Po, advancing over a floor of marine 
pliocene strata of no greater solidity than the miocene sand 
stone and conglomerate in which the lake-basins of Geneva, 
Zurich, and some others are situated. Why did this 
glacier fail to scoop out a deep and wide basin rivalling in 
size the lakes of Maggiore or Como, instead of merely giving 
rise to a few ponds above Ivrea, which may have been due to 
ice action? There is one lake, it is true that of Candia, 
near the southern extremity of the moraine, which is larger ; 
but even this, as will be seen by the map, p. 306, is quite of 
subordinate importance, and whether it is situated in a rock 
basin or is simply caused by a dam of moraine matter, has 
not yet been fully made out. 

There ought also to have been another great lake, 


according to the theory under consideration, in the space 
now occupied by the moraine of the Dora Riparia, between 
Susa and Turin (see map, p. 306). Signor Gastaldi has 
shown that all the ponds in that area consist exclusively of 
what M. de Mortillet has denominated morainic lakes, 
i. e. caused by barriers of glacier-mud and stones. 

5thly. In proof of the great lakes having had no existence 
before the glacial period, Professor Eamsay observes that 
we do not find in the Alps any freshwater strata of an age 
intermediate between 'the close of the miocenic and the 
commencement of the glacial epoch.'* But although such 
formations are scarce, they are by no means wholly wanting ; 
and if it can be shown that any one of the principal lakes^ 
that of Zurich for example, existed prior to the glacial era, it 
will follow that in the Alps the erosive power of ice was not 
required to produce lake-basins on a large scale. The deposits 
alluded to on the borders of the lake of Zurich are those of 
Utznach and Diirnten, situated each about 350 feet above 
the present level of the lake, and containing valuable beds of 

The first of them, that of Utznach, is a delta formed at the 
head of the ancient and once more extensive lake. The argil 
laceous and lignite-bearing strata, more than 100 feet in 
thickness, rest unconformably on highly inclined and sometimes 
vertical miocene molasse. These clays are covered conform 
ably by stratified sand and gravel sixty feet thick, partly con 
solidated, in which the pebbles are of rocks belonging to the 
upper valleys of the Limmat and its tributaries, all of them 
small and not glacially striated, and wholly without admixture 
of large angular stones. On the top of all repose very 
large erratic blocks, affording clear evidence that the colossal 
glacier which once filled the valley of the Limmat covered 

* G-eol. Quart. Journ. vol. xviii. 


the old littoral deposit. The great age of the lignite is partly 
indicated by the bones of Elephas antiquus found in it. 

I visited Utznach in company with M. Escher von der 
Linth in 1857, and during the same year examined the lignite 
of Diirnten, many miles further down on the right bank of 
the lake, in company with Professor Heer and Mr. Marcou. 
The beds there are of the same age and within a few feet of 
the same height above the level of the lake. They might easily 
have been overlooked or confounded with the general glacial 
drift of the neighbourhood, had not the bed of lignite, which 
is from five to twelve feet thick, been worked for fuel, dur 
ing which operation many organic remains came to light. 
Among these are the teeth of Elephas antiquus, determined 
by Dr. Falconer, and Rhinoceros leptorhinus? (R. megarhinus 
Christol), the wild bull and red deer (Bos primigenius Boj., 
and Cervus Elaphus L.), the last two determined by Professor 
Eiitemeyer. In the same beds I found many freshwater 
shells of the genera Paludina y Limnea, &c., all of living 
species. The plants named by Professor Heer are also 
recent, and agree singularly with those of the Cromer buried 
forest, before described (p. 214). 

Among them are the Scotch and spruce firs, Pinus syl- 
vestris and Pinus Abies, and the buckbean, or Menyanthes 
trifoliata, &c., besides the common birch and other Eu 
ropean plants. 

Overlying this lignite are, first, as at Utznach, stratified 
gravel, not of glacial origin, about thirty feet thick ; and, 
secondly, highest of all, huge angular erratic blocks, clearly 
indicating the presence of a great glacier, posterior in date 
to all the organic remains above enumerated. 

If any one of the existing Swiss lakes were now lowered by 
deepening its outlet, or by raising the higher portion of it 
relatively to the lower, we should see similar deltas of com 
paratively modern date exposed to view, some of them with 


embedded trunks of pines of the same species drifted down 
during freshets. Such deposits would be most frequent at 
the upper ends of the lakes, but a few would occur on either 
bank not far from the shore, where torrents once entered, 
agreeing in geographical position with the lignite formations 
of Utznach and Diirnten. 

There are other freshwater formations with lignite, besides 
those on the lake of Zurich, as those of Wetzikon, near the 
Pfaffikon Lake, of Kaltbrunnen, of Buchberg, and that of 
Morschweil between St. Grail and Rorschach, but none pro 
bably older than the Diirnten beds. Like the buried forest 
of Cromer (p. 214), they are all pre-glacial, yet they by 
no means represent the older nor even the newer pliocene 
period, but rather the beginning of the post-pliocene. It is 
therefore true, as Professor Ramsay remarks, that, as yet, no 
strata c of the age of the English Crag' have been detected in 
any Alpine valley. In other words, there are no freshwater 
formations yet known corresponding in date to the pliocene 
beds of the upper Val d'Arno, above Florence a fact from 
which we may infer (though with diffidence, as the inference 
is based on negative evidence), that, although the great 
Alpine valleys were eroded in pliocene times, the lake-basins 
were, nevertheless, of post-pliocene date some of them 
formed before, others during, the glacial epoch. 

6th] y. In what manner, then, did the great lake basins ori 
ginate if they were not hollowed out by ice ? My answer is, 
they are all due to unequal movements of upheaval and sub 
sidence. We have already seen that the buried forest of 
Cromer, which, by its organic contents, seems clearly to be 
of the same age as the lignite of Diirnten, was pre-glacial, 
and that it has undergone a great oscillation of level (about 
500 feet in both directions, see p. 227) since its origin, 
having first sunk to that extent below the sea, and then 
been raised up again to the sea-level. In the countless post- 


miocene ages which preceded the glacial period there was 
ample time for the slow erosion by water of all the principal 
hydrographical basins of the Alps, and the sites of all the 
great lakes coincide, as Professor Eamsay truly says, with 
these great lines of drainage. The lake-cavities do not lie in 
synclinal troughs, following the strike and foldings of the 
strata, but often, as the same geologist remarks, cross them 
at high angles ; nor are they due to rents or gaping fissures, 
although these, with other accidents connected with the 
disturbing movements of the Alps, may sometimes have 
determined originally the direction of the valleys. The 
conformity of the lake-basins to the principal watercourses is 
explicable if we assume them to have resulted from inequali 
ties in the upward and downward movements of the whole 
country in post-pliocene times, after the valleys were eroded. 
We know that in Sweden the rate of the rise of the land 
is far from uniform, being only a few inches in a century 
near Stockholm, while north of it, and beyond Grefle, it 
amounts to as many feet in the same number of years. Let 
us suppose, with Charpentier, that the Alps gained in height 
several thousand feet at the time when the intense cold of 
the glacial period was coming on. This gradual rise would 
be an era of aqueous erosion, and of the deepening, widening, 
and lengthening of the valleys. It is very improbable that 
the elevation would be everywhere identical in quantity, but 
if it was never in excess in the outskirts as compared to the 
central region or crest of the chain, it would not give rise to 
lakes. When, however, the period of upheaval was followed 
by one of gradual subsidence, the movement not being every 
where strictly uniform, lake-basins would be formed where- 
ever the rate of depression was in excess in the upper country. 
Let the region, for example, near the head waters of the great 
rivers sink at the rate of from four to six feet per century, 
while only half as much subsidence occurs towards the cir- 


cumference of the mountains the rate diminishing about an 
inch per mile, in a distance, say of forty miles this might 
convert many of the largest and deepest valleys at their 
lower ends into lakes. 

We have no certainty that such movements may not now 
be in progress in the Alps ; for if they are as slow as we have 
assumed, they would be as insensible to the inhabitants, as 
is the upheaval of Scandinavia or the subsidence of Green 
land to the Swedes and Danes who dwell there. They only 
know of the progress of such geographical revolutions, because 
a slight change of level becomes manifest on the margin of 
the sea. The lines of elevation or depression above supposed 
might leave no clear geological traces of their action on the 
high ridges and table-lands separating the valleys of the 
principal rivers ; it is only when they cross such valleys, that 
the disturbance caused in the course of thousands of years in 
the drainage becomes apparent. If there were no ice, the 
sinking of the land might not give rise to lakes. To accom 
plish this in the absence of ice, it is necessary that the rate 
of depression should be sufficiently fast to make it impossible 
for the depositing power of the river to keep pace with it, or, 
in other words, to fill up the incipient cavity, as fast as it 
begins to form. Such levelling operations once complete, 
the running water, aided by sand and pebbles, will gradually 
cut a gorge through the newly raised rock, so as to prevent 
it from forming a barrier. But if a great glacier fill the 
lower part of the valley, aM the conditions of the problem 
are altered. Instead of the mud, sand, and stones drifted 
down from the higher regions being left behind in the 
incipient basin, they all travel onwards in the shape of 
moraines on the top of the ice, passing over and beyond the 
new depression, so that when, at the end of fifty or a thousand 
centuries, the glacier melts, a large and deep basin repre 
senting the difference in the movement of two adjoining 


mountain areas namely, the central and the circumferential 
is for the first time rendered visible. 

By adopting this hypothesis, we concede that there is an 
intimate connection between the glacial period and a pre 
dominance of lakes, in producing which the action of ice is 
threefold ; first, by its direct power in scooping out shallow 
basins where the rocks are of unequal hardness; an opera 
tion which can by no means be confined to the land, for it 
must extend to below the level of high water a thousand feet 
and more, in such friths as have been described as filled with 
ice in Greenland (see above, p. 236J. 

2ndly. The ice will act indirectly by preventing cavities 
caused by inequalities of subsidence or elevation from be 
coming the receptacles first of water, and then of sediment, 
by which the cavities would be levelled up and the lakes 

Srdly. The ice is also an indirect cause of lakes, by heaping 
up mounds of moraine matter, and thus giving rise to ponds 
and even to sheets of water several miles in diameter. 

The comparative scarcity, therefore, of lakes of post-pliocene 
date in tropical countries, and very generally south of the 
fortieth and fiftieth parallels of latitude, may be accounted for 
by the absence of glacial action in such regions. 

Post-glacial Lake-dwelling in the North of Italy. 

We learn from M. de Mortillet that in the peat which has 
filled up one of the ( morainic lakes ' formed by the ancient 
glacier of the Ticino, M. Moro has discovered at Mercurago 
the piles of a lake-dwelling like those of Switzerland, together 
with various utensils, and a canoe hollowed out of the trunk 
of a tree. From this fact we learn that south of the Alps, as 
well as north of them, a primitive people having similar 
habits flourished after the retreat of the great glaciers. 


Successive Phases of Glacial Action in the Alps, and their 
Relation to the Human Period. 

According to the geological observations of M. Morlot, the 
following successive phases in the development of ice-action 
in the Alps are plainly recognisable : - 

1st. There was a period when the ice was in its greatest 
excess, as described at p. 300 et seq., when the glacier of the 
Rhone not only reached the Jura, but climbed to the height of 
2,015 feet above the lake of Neufchatel, and 3,450 above the 
sea, at which time the Alpine ice actually entered the French 
territory at some points, penetrating by certain gorges, as 
through the defile of the Fort de 1'Ecluse, among others. 

2nd. To this succeeded a prolonged retreat of the great 
glaciers, when they evacuated not only the Jura and the low 
country between that chain and the Alps, but retired some 
way back into the Alpine valleys. M. Morlot supposes their 
diminution in volume to have accompanied a general sub 
sidence of the country, to the extent of at least 1,000 feet. 
The geological formations of the 2nd period consist of 
stratified masses of sand and gravel, called the ' ancient 
alluvium ' by MM. Necker and Favre, corresponding to the 
( older or lower diluvium ' of some writers. Their origin is 
evidently due to the action of rivers, swollen by the melting 
of ice, by which the materials of parts of the old moraines 
were rearranged and stratified, and left usually at considerable 
heights above the level of the present valley plains. 

3rd. The glaciers again advanced and became of gigantic 
dimensions, though they fell far short of those of the first 
period. That of the Rhone, for example, did not again reach 
the Jura, though it filled the lake of Geneva, and formed 
enormous moraines on its borders, and in many parts of the 
valley between the Alps and Jura. 


4th. A second retreat of the glaciers took place when they 
gradually shrank nearly into their present limits, accom 
panied by another accumulation of stratified gravels, which 
form in many places a series of terraces above the level of the 
alluvial plains of the existing rivers. 

In the gorge of the Dranse, near Thonon, M. Morlot dis 
covered no less than three of these glacial formations in direct 
superposition, namely, at the bottom of the section, a mass of 
compact till or boulder-clay (No. 1) twelve feet thick, including 
striated boulders of Alpine limestone, and covered by regularly 
stratified ancient alluvium (No. 2) 150 feet thick, made up of 
rounded pebbles in horizontal beds. This mass is in its turn 
overlaid by a second formation (No. 3) of unstratified boulder 
clay, with erratic blocks and striated pebbles, which consti 
tuted the left lateral moraine of the great glacier of the 
Khone, when it advanced for the second time to the lake of 
Geneva. At a short distance from the above section, terraces 
(No. 4) composed of stratified alluvium are seen at the heights 
of 20, 50, 100, and 150 feet above the lake of Geneva, which, 
by their position, can be shown to be posterior in date to 
the upper boulder-clay, and therefore belong to the fourth 
period, or that of the last retreat of the great glaciers. In 
the deposits of this fourth period, the remains of the 
mammoth have been discovered, as at Morges, for example, 
on the lake of Geneva. The conical delta of the Tiniere, 
mentioned at p. 27 as containing at different depths monu 
ments of the Eoman as well as of the antecedent bronze and 
stone ages, is the work of alluvial deposition going on when 
the terrace of 50 feet was in progress. This modern delta 
is supposed by M. Morlot to have required 10,000 years for 
its accumulation. At the height of 150 feet above the lake, 
following up the course of the same torrent, we came to a 
more ancient delta, about ten times as large, which is there 
fore supposed to be the monument of about ten times as 



many centuries, or 100,000 years, all referable to the fourth 
period mentioned in the preceding page, or that which followed 
the last retreat of the great glaciers.* 

If the lower flattened cone of Tiniere be referred in great 
part to the age of the oldest lake-dwellings, the higher one 
might, perhaps, correspond with the post-pliocene period of 
St. Acheul, or the era when man and the Elephas primige- 
nius flourished together; but no human remains or works of 
art have as yet been found in deposits of this age, or in 
any alluvium containing the bones of extinct mammalia in 

Upon the whole, it is impossible not to be struck with an 
apparent correspondence in the succession of events of the 
glacial period of Switzerland, and that of the British Isles 
before described. The time of the first Alpine glaciers of 
colossal dimensions, when that chain perhaps was several 
thousand feet higher than now, may have agreed with the 
first continental period alluded to at pp. 241 and 282, when 
Scotland was invested with a universal crust of ice. The re 
treat of the first Alpine glaciers, caused partly by a lowering 
of that chain, may have been synchronous with the period of 
great submergence and floating ice in England. The second 
advance of the glaciers may have coincided in date with the 
re-elevation of the Alps, as well as of the Scotch and Welsh 
mountains; and lastly, the final retreat of the Swiss and 
Italian glaciers may have taken place when man and the 
extinct mammalia were colonising the north-west of Europe, 
and beginning to inhabit areas which had formed the bed of 
the glacial sea during the era of chief submergence. 

But it must be confessed, that in the present state of our 
knowledge, these attempts to compare the chronological re 
lations of the periods of upheaval and subsidence of areas so 

* Morlot, Terrain quaternaire du Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles, No. 
Bassin de Leman, Bulletin de Societ6 44. 


widely separated as are the mountains of Scandinavia, the 
British Isles, and the Alps, or the times of the advance and 
retreat of glaciers in those several regions, and the greater 
or less intensity of cold, must be looked upon as very con 

We may presume with more confidence that when the Alps 
were highest and the Alpine glaciers most developed, filling 
all the great lakes of northern Italy, and loading the plains 
of Piedmont and Lombardy with ice, the waters of the Me 
diterranean were chilled and of a lower average temperature 
than now. Such a period of refrigeration is required by the 
conchologist to account for the prevalence of northern shells 
in the Sicilian seas about the close of the newer pliocene or 
commencement of the post-pliocene period. For such shells 
as Cyprina islandica, Natica clausa, and some others, enu 
merated among the fossils of the latest tertiary formations 
of Sicily by Philippi and Edward Forbes, point unequivocally 
to a former more severe climate. Dr. Hooker also, in his 
late journey to Syria (in the autumn of 1860), found the 
moraines of extinct glaciers, on which the whole of the ancient 
cedars of Lebanon grow, to descend 4,000 feet below the 
summit of that chain. The temperature of Syria is now so 
much milder, that there is no longer perpetual snow even on 
the summit of Lebanon, the height of which was ascertained 
to be 10,200 feet above the Mediterranean.* 

Such monuments of a cold climate in latitudes so far south 
as Syria and the north of Sicily, between 33 to 38 north, 
may be confidently referred to an early part of the glacier 
period, or to times long anterior to those of man and the ex 
tinct mammalia of Abbeville and Amiens. 

* Hooker, Natural History Keview, No. 5, January 1862, p. 11. 


















Nature and Origin of the Loess. 

TNTIMATELY connected with the subjects treated of in 
J- the last chapter, is the nature, origin, and age of cer 
tain loamy deposits, commonly called loess, which form a 
marked feature in the superficial deposits of the basins of the 
Rhine, Danube, and some other large rivers draining the Alps, 
and which extend down the Rhine into the Low Countries, 
and were once perhaps continuous with others of like com 
position in the north of France, 

It has been reported of late years that human remains 
have been detected at several points in the loess of the 
Meuse around and below Maestricht. I have visited the 
localities referred to ; but, before giving an account of 
them, it will be desirable to explain what is meant by the 


loess, a step the more necessary, as a French geologist, for 
whose knowledge and judgment I have great respect, tells 
me he has come to the conclusion that ' the loess ' is ( a myth,' 
having no real existence in a geological sense, or as holding 
a definite place in the chronological series. 

No doubt it is true that in every country, and at all 
geological periods, rivers have been depositing fine loam on 
their inundated plains in the manner explained above at 
p. 34, where the Nile mud was spoken of. This mud of the 
plains of Egypt, according to Professor BischofT's chemical 
analysis, agrees closely in composition with the loess of the 
Bhine.* I have also shown (p. 201), when speaking of the 
fossil man of Natchez, how identical in mineral character, and 
in the genera of its terrestrial and amphibious shells, is the 
ancient fluviatile loam of the Mississippi with the loess of the 
Ehine. But granting that loam presenting the same aspect has 
originated at different times and in distinct hydrographical 
basins, it is nevertheless true that, during the glacial period, 
the Alps were a great centre of dispersion, not only of erratics, 
as we have seen in the last chapter, and of gravel, which was 
carried farther than the erratics, but also of very fine mud, 
which was transported to still greater distances and in 
greater volume down the principal river-courses between the 
mountains and the sea. 

Mud produced by Glaciers. 

They who have visited Switzerland are aware that every 
torrent which issues from an icy cavern at the extremity of a 
glacier is densely charged with an impalpable powder, pro 
duced by the grinding action to which the subjacent floor of 
rock and the stones and sand frozen into the ice are exposed 
in the manner before described. We may therefore readily 

* Chemical and Physical Geology, yol. i. p. 132. 


conceive that a much greater volume of fine sediment was 
swept along by rivers swollen by melting ice at the time of 
the retreat of the gigantic glaciers of the olden time. The 
fact that a large proportion of this mud, instead of being 
carried to the ocean, where it might have formed a delta on 
the coast, or have been dispersed far and wide by the tides 
and currents, has accumulated in inland valleys, will be found 
to be an additional proof of the former occurrence of those 
grand oscillations in the level of the Alps and parts of the 
adjoining continent which were required to explain the 
alternate advance and retreat of the glaciers, and the super 
position of more than one boulder clay and stratified alluvium 
before mentioned, p. 321. 

The position of the loess between Basle and Bonn is such 
as to imply that the great valley of the Ehine had already 
acquired its present shape, and in some places, perhaps more 
than its actual depth and width, previously to the time when 
it was gradually filled up to a great extent with fine loam. 
The greater part of this loam has been since removed, so that 
a fringe only of the deposit is now left on the flanks of the 
boundary hills, or occasionally some outliers in the middle of 
the great plain of the .Ehine where it expands in width. 

These outliers are sometimes on such a scale as to admit of 
minor hills and valleys, having been shaped out of them by 
the action of rain and small streamlets, as near Freiburg in 
the Brisgau and other districts. 

Fossil Shells of the Loess. 

The loess is generally devoid of fossils, although in many 
places they are abundant, consisting of land-shells, all of 
living species, and comprising no small part of the entire 
molluscous fauna now inhabiting the same region. The 
three shells most frequently met with are those represented in 


the annexed figures. The slug, called Succinea, is not strictly 
aquatic, but lives in damp places, and may be seen in full 
activity far from rivers, in meadows, where the grass is wet 
with rain or dew ; but shells of the genera Limnea, Planorbis, 
Paludina, Cyclas, and others, requiring to be constantly in the 
water, are extremely exceptional in the loess, occurring only 
at the bottom of the deposit, where it begins to alternate with 
ancient river-gravel, on which it usually reposes. 

This underlying gravel consists, in the valley of the Khine, 

Fig. 44 Fig. 45 Fig. 46 


Succinea elongata. 'Pupa muscorum. Helix hispida Lin. ; H. plebeium Jeffreys. 

for the most part, of pebbles and boulders of Alpine origin, 
showing that there was a time when the rivers had power to 
convey coarse materials for hundreds of miles northwards 
from Switzerland, towards the sea ; whereas, at a later period, 
an entire change was brought about in the physical geography 
of the same district, so that the same river deposited nothing 
but fine mud, which accumulated to a thickness of 800 feet 
or more above the original alluvial plain. 

But although most of the fundamental gravel was derived 
from the Alps, there has been observed in the neighbourhood 
of the principal mountain chains bordering the great valley, 
such as the Black Forest, Vosges, and Odenwald, an ad 
mixture of detritus characteristic of those several chains. 
We cannot doubt, therefore, that as some of these mountains, 
especially the Vosges, had, during the glacial period, their 
own glaciers, a part of the fine mud of their moraines must 
have been mingled with loess of Alpine origin ; although the 
principal mass of the latter must have come from Switzerland, 
and can in fact be traced continuously from Basle to Belgium. 


Geographical Distribution of the Loess. 

It was stated in the last chapter, p. 302, that at the time of 
the greatest extension of the Swiss glaciers, the Lake of 
Constance, and all the other great lakes, were filled with ice, 
so that gravel and mud could pass freely from the upper 
Alpine valley of the Rhine, to the lower region between Basle 
and the sea, the great lake intercepting no part of the 
moraines, whether fine or coarse. On the other hand, the Aar, 
with its great tributaries the Limmat and the Eeuss, does not 
join the Rhine till after it issues from the Lake of Constance ; 
and by their channels a large part of the Alpine gravel and 
mud could always have passed without obstruction into the 
lower country, even after the ice of the great lake had melted. 

It will give the reader some idea of the manner in which 
the Rhenish loess occurs, if he is told that some of the earlier 
scientific observers imagined it to have been formed in a vast 
lake which occupied the valley of the Rhine from Basle to 
Mayence, sending up arms or branches into what are now the 
valleys of the Main, Necker, and other large rivers. They 
placed the barrier of this imaginary lake in the narrow and 
picturesque gorge of the Rhine between Bingen and Bonn : 
and when it was objected that the lateral valley of the Lahn, 
communicating with that gorge, had also been filled with loess, 
they were compelled to transfer the great dam farther down, and 
to place it below Bonn. Strictly speaking, it must be placed 
much farther north, or in the 51st parallel of latitude, where 
the limits of the loess have been traced out by MM. Omalius 
D'Halloy, Dumont, and others, running east and west by 
Cologne, Juliers, Louvain, Oudenarde, and Courtray, in 
Belgium, to Cassel, near Dunkirk, in France. This boundary 
line may not indicate the original seaward extent of the 
formation, as it may have stretched still farther north, and its 
present abrupt termination may only show how far it was 


cut back at some former period by the denuding action of 
the sea. 

Even if the imbedded fossil shells of the loess had 
been lacustrine, instead of being, as we have seen, terrestrial 
and amphibious, the vast height and width of the required 
barrier would have been fatal to the theory of a lake : for the 
loess is met with in great force at an elevation of no less than 
1,600 feet above the sea, covering the Kaiserstuhl, a volcanic 
mountain which stands in the jniddle of the great valley of the 
Rhine, near Freiburg in Brisgau. The extent to which the 
valley has there been the receptacle of fine mud afterwards 
removed is most remarkable. 

The loess of Belgium was called ' Hesbayan mud ' in the 
geological map of the late M. Dumont, who, I am told, 
recognised it as being in great part composed of Alpine mud. 
M. d'Archiac, when speaking of the loess, observes that it en 
velopes Hainault, Brabant, and Limburg like a mantle, 
everywhere uniform and homogeneous in character, filling up 
the lower depressions of the Ardennes, and passing thence 
into the north of France, though not crossing into England. 
In France, he adds, it is found on high plateaus, 600 feet 
above some of the rivers, such as the Marne ; but as we go 
southwards and eastwards of the basin of the Seine, it dimi 
nishes in quantity, and finally thins out in those directions.* 
It may even be a question whether the f limon des plateaux,' 
or upland loam of the Somme valley, before alluded to, f may 
not be a part of the same formation. As to the higher and 
lower level gravels of that valley, which, like that of the Seine, 
contain no foreign rocks,! we have seen that they are each of 
them covered by deposits of loess or inundation-mud belong 
ing respectively to the periods of the gravels, whereas the 
upland loam is of much older date, more widely spread, and 

* D'Archiac, Histoire des Progres, vol. ii. pp. 169, 170, 
f No. 4, fig. 7, p. 103. | See above, p. 133. . 


occupying positions often independent of the present lines of 
drainage. To restore in imagination the geographical outline 
of Picardy, to which rivers charged with so much homogeneous 
loam, and running at such heights, may once have belonged, 
is now impossible. 

In the valley of the Ehine, as I before observed, the main 
body of the loess, instead of having been formed at succes 
sively lower and lower levels as in the case of the basin of the 
Somme, was deposited in a wide and deep preexisting basin, 
or strath, bounded by lofty mountain chains, such as the Black 
Forest, Vosges, and Odenwald. In some places the loam 
accumulated to such a depth as first to fill the valley and 
then to spread over the adjoining table-lands, as in the case 
of the Lower Eifel, where it encircled some of the modern 
volcanic cones of loose pumice and ashes. In these in 
stances it does not appear to me that the volcanoes were in 
eruption during the time of the deposition of the loess, as 
some geologists have supposed. The interstrtaification of 
loam and volcanic ejectamenta was probably occasioned by 
the fluviatile mud having gradually enveloped the cones of 
loose scoriae after they were completely formed. I am the 
more inclined to embrace this view after having seen the 
junction of granite and loess on the steep slopes of some of 
the mountains bounding the great plain of the Ehine on its 
right bank in the Berg-strasse. Thus between Darmstadt 
and Heidelberg perpendicular sections are seen of loess 200 
feet thick, at various heights above the river, some of them 
at elevations of 800 feet and upwards. In one of these may 
be seen, resting on the hill side of Melibocus in the Odenwald, 
the usual yellow loam free from pebbles at its contact with a 
steep slope of granite, but divided into horizontal layers for a 
short distance from the line of junction. In these layers, 
which abut against the granite, a mixture of mica and of 
unrounded grains of quartz and felspar occur, evidently 


derived from the disintegration of the crystalline rock, which 
must have decomposed in the atmosphere before the mud 
had reached this height. Entire shells of Helix, Pupa, and 
Sucrinea, of the usual living species, are embedded in the 
granitic mixture. We may therefore be sure that the valley 
bounded by steep hills of granite existed before the tranquil 
accumulation of this vast body of loess. 

During the re-excavation of the basin of the Ehine succes 
sive deposits of loess of newer origin were formed at various 
heights ; and it is often difficult to distinguish their relative 
ages, especially as fossils are often entirely wanting, and the 
mineral composition of the formation is so uniform. 

The loess in Belgium is variable in thickness, usually 
ranging from ten to thirty feet. It caps some of the highest 
hills or table-land around Brussels at the height of 300 feet 
above the sea. In such places it usually rests on gravel, and 
rarely contains shells, but when they occur, they are of recent 
species. I found the Succinea oblonga, before mentioned, 
p. 327, and Helix hispida in the Belgian loess at JSTeerepen, 
between Tongres and Hasselt, where M. Bosquet had pre 
viously obtained remains of an elephant referred to E. primi- 
genius. This pachyderm and Rhinoceros tichorhinus are 
cited as characterising the loess in various parts of the valley 
of the Rhine. Several perfect skeletons of the marmot have 
been disinterred from the loess of Aix-la-Chapelle. But 
much remains to be done in determining the species of mam 
malia of this formation, and the relative altitudes above the 
valley-plain at which they occur. 

If we ascend the basin of the Neckar, we find that it is 
filled with loess of great thickness, far above its junction with 
the Rhine. At Canstadt near Stuttgart, loess resembling 
that of the Rhine contains many fossil bones, especially those 
of Elephas primigenius, together with some of Rhinoceros 
tichorhinus, the species having been lately determined by 


Dr. Falconer. At this place the loess is covered by a thick 
bed of travertin, used as a building stone, the product of a 
mineral spring. In the travertin are many fossil plants, all 
recent except two, an oak and poplar, the leaves of which 
Professor Heer has not been able to identify with any known 

Below the loess of Canstadt, in which bones of the mam 
moth are so abundant, is a bed of gravel, evidently an old 
river channel, now many feet above the level of the Neckar, 
the valley having there been excavated to some depth below 
its ancient channel so as to lie in the underlying red sand 
stone or keuper. Although the loess, when traced from the 
valley of the Rhine into that of the Neckar, or into any 
other of its tributaries, often undergoes some slight alteration 
in its character, yet there is so much identity of composition 
as to suggest the idea, that the mud of the main river passed 
far up the tributary valleys, just as that of the Mississippi, 
during floods, flows far up the Ohio, carrying its mud with it 
into the basin of that river. But the uniformity of colour 
and mineral composition does not extend indefinitely into 
the higher parts of every basin. In that of the Neckar, for 
example, near Tubingen, I , found the fluviatile loam or 
brick-earth, enclosing the usual helices and succinese, to 
gether with the bones of the mammoth, very distinct in 
colour and composition from ordinary Rhenish loess, and 
such as no one could confound with Alpine mud. It is 
mottled with red and green, like the New Red Sandstone or 
keuper, from which it has clearly been derived. 

Such examples, however, merely show that where a basin 
is so limited in size that the detritus is derived chiefly, or 
exclusively, from one formation, the prevailing rock will 
impart its colour and composition in a very decided manner 
to the loam ; whereas, in the basin of a great river which has 
many tributaries, the loam will consist of a mixture of 


almost every variety of rock, and will therefore exhibit an 
average result nearly the same in all countries. Thus, the 
loam which fills to a great depth the wide Valley of the 
Saone, which is bounded on the west side by an escarpment 
of inferior oolite, and by the chain of the Jura on the east, is 
very like the loess found in the continuation of the same 
great basin after the junction of the Ehone, by which a 
large supply of Alpine mud has been added and intermixed. 
In the higher parts of the basin of the Danube, loess of the 
same character as that of the Khine, and which I believe to be 
equally of Alpine origin, attains a far greater elevation above 
the sea than any deposits of Ehenish loess. Mr. Stur informs 
me that it also fills the valleys of the Carpathians, almost to 
the height of the watershed between Austria and Hungary. 

Oscillations of Level required to explain the Accumulation 
and Denudation of the Loess. 

A theory, therefore, which attempts to account for the 
position of the loess cannot be satisfactory unless it be 
equally applicable to the basins of the Khine and Danube. 
So far as relates to the source of so much homogeneous loam, 
there are many large tributaries of the Danube which, during 
the glacial period, may have carried an ample supply of 
moraine-mud from the Alps to that river ; and in regard to 
grand oscillations in the level of the land, it is obvious that 
the same movements, both downward and upward, of the 
great mountain- chain would be attended with analogous 
effects, whether the great rivers flowed northwards or east 
wards. In each case fine loam would be accumulated during 
subsidence, and removed during the upheaval of the land. 
Changes, therefore, of level, analogous to those on which we 
have been led to speculate when endeavouring to solve the 
various problems presented by the glacial phenomena, are 


equally available to account for the nature and geological 
distribution of the loess. But we must suppose that the 
amount of depression and re-elevation in the central region 
was considerably in excess of that experienced in the lower 
countries, or those nearer the sea, and that the rate of sub 
sidence in the latter was never so considerable as to cause 
submergence, or the admission of the sea into the interior of 
the continent by the valleys of the principal rivers. 

We have already assumed that the Alps were loftier than 
now, when they were the source of those gigantic glaciers 
which reached the flanks of the Jura. At that time gravel was 
borne to the greatest distances from the central mountains 
through the main valleys, which had a somewhat steeper slope 
than now, and the quantity of river-ice must at that time 
have aided in the transportation of pebbles and boulders. 
To this state of things gradually succeeded another of an 
opposite character, when the fall of the rivers from the 
mountains to the sea became less and less, while the Alps 
were slowly sinking, and the first retreat of the great glaciers 
was taking place. Suppose the depression to have been at 
the rate of five feet in a century in the mountains, and only 
as many inches in the same time nearer the coast, still, in 
such areas as the eye could survey at once, comprising a 
small part only of Switzerland or of the basin of the Ehine, 
the movement might appear to be uniform, and the pre 
existing valleys and heights might seem to remain relatively 
to each other as before. 

Such inequality in the rate of rising or sinking, when we 
contemplate large continental spaces, is quite consistent with 
what we know of the course of nature in our own times, as 
well as at remote geological epochs. Thus, in Sweden, as 
before stated, the rise of land now in progress is nearly uni 
form, as we proceed from north to south, for moderate distances; 
but it greatly diminishes southwards if we compare areas 


hundreds of miles apart ; so that, instead of the land subsiding 
five feet in a hundred years, as at the North Cape, it becomes 
less than the same number of inches at Stockholm, and 
farther south the land is stationary, or, if not, seems rather 
to be descending than ascending.* 

To cite an example of high geological antiquity, M. Hebert 
has demonstrated that, during the oolitic and cretaceous 
periods, similar inequalities in the vertical movements of 
the earth's crust took place in Switzerland and France. By 
his own observations and those of M. Lory he has proved 
that the area of the Alps was rising and emerging from 
beneath the ocean towards the close of the oolitic epoch, and 
was above water at the commencement of the cretaceous era ; 
while, on the other hand, the area of the Jura, about one hun 
dred miles to the north, was slowly sinking at the close of the 
oolitic period, and had become submerged at the commence 
ment of the cretaceous. Yet these oscillations of level were 
accomplished without any perceptible derangement in the 
strata, which remained all the while horizontal, so that the 
lower cretaceous or neocomian beds were deposited conform 
ably on the oolitic.f 

Taking for granted then that the depression was more 
rapid in the more elevated region, the great rivers would lose, 
century after century, some portion of their velocity or 
carrying power, and would leave behind them on their 
alluvial plains more and more of the moraine-mud with 
which they were charged, till at length, in the course of 
thousands or some tens of thousands of years, a large part of 
the main valleys would begin to resemble the plains of Egypt, 
where nothing but mud is deposited during the flood season. 
The thickness of loam containing shells of land and am- 

* Principles of Geology, chap. xxx. de France, 2 series, torn. xvi. p. 596, 
9th ed. p. 519 et seq. 1859. 

f Bulletin de la Societe Greologique 


phibious mollusca might in this way accumulate to any 
extent, so that the waters might overflow some of the heights 
originally bounding the valley, and deposits of 'platform 
mud,' as it has been termed in France, might be extensively 
formed. At length, whenever a re-elevation of the Alps at 
the time of the second extension of the glaciers took place, 
there would be renewed denudation and removal of such loess ; 
and if, as some geologists believe, there has been more than 
one oscillation of level in the Alps since the commencement 
of the glacial period, the changes would be proportionally 
more complicated, and terraces of gravel covered with loess 
might be formed at different heights, and at different periods. 

Himalayan Mud of the Ganges compared to European 


Some of the revolutions in physical geography above sug 
gested for the continent of Europe during the post-pliocene 
epoch, may have had their counterparts in India in the recent 
period. The vast plains of Bengal are overspread with Hima 
layan mud, which, as we ascend the Granges, extends inland 
for 1,200 miles from the sea, continuing very homogeneous on 
the whole, though becoming more sandy as it nears the hills. 
They who sail down the river during a season of inundation 
see nothing but a sheet of water in every direction, except 
here and there where the tops of trees emerge above its level. 
To what depth the mud extends is not known, but it resem 
bles the loess in being generally devoid of stratification, and 
of shells, though containing occasionally land shells in abun 
dance, as well as calcareous concretions, called kunkur, which 
may be compared to the nodules of carbonate of lime some 
times observed to form layers in the Ehenish loess. I am 
told by Colonel Strachey and Dr. Hooker, that below Cal 
cutta, when the flood subsides, the Gangetic mud may be seen 


in river cliffs eighty feet high, in which they were unable to 
detect organic remains, a remark which I found to hold 
equally in regard to the recent mud of the Mississippi. 

Dr. Wallich, while confirming these observations, informs me 
that at certain points in Bengal, farther inland, he met with 
land-shells in the banks of the great river. Borings have 
been made at Calcutta, beginning not many feet above the 
sea-level to the depth of 300 and 400 feet ; and wherever or 
ganic remains were found in the strata pierced through, they 
were of a fluviatile or terrestrial character, implying, that 
during a long and gradual subsidence of the country, the 
sediment thrown down by the Granges and Burrampooter 
had accumulated at a sufficient rate to prevent the sea from 
invading that region. 

At the bottom of the borings, after passing through much 
fine loam, beds of pebbles, sand, and boulders were reached, 
such as might belong to an ancient river channel ; and the 
bones of a crocodile, and the shell of a freshwater tortoise 
imbedded in it, were met with, at the depth of four hundred 
feet from the surface. No pebbles are now brought down 
within a great distance of this point, so that the country 
must once have had a totally different character, and may 
have had its valleys, hills, and rivers, before all was reduced 
to one common level by the accumulation upon it of fine 
Himalayan mud. If the latter were removed during a 
gradual re-elevation of the country, many old hydrographical 
basins might reappear, and portions of the loam might alone 
remain in terraces, on the flanks of hills, or on platforms, at 
testing the vast extent, in ancient times, of the muddy enve 
lope. A similar succession of events has, in all likelihood, 
occurred in Europe during the deposition and denudation of 
the loess of the post-pliocene period, which, as we have seen 
in a former chapter, was long enough to allow of the gradual 
development of almost any amount of such physical changes. 


Human Remains in Loess near Maestricht. 

The banks of the Meuse at Maestricht, like those of the 
Rhine at Bonn and Cologne, are slightly elevated above the 
level of the alluvial plain. On the right bank of the Meuse, 
opposite Maestricht, the difference of level is so marked, that 
a bridge, with many arches, has been constructed to keep up, 
during the flood season, a communication between the higher 
parts of the alluvial plain, and the hills or bluffs which 
bound it. This plain is composed of modern loess, undistin- 
guishable in mineral character from that of higher antiquity, 
before alluded to, and entirely without signs of successive 
deposition, and devoid of terrestrial or fluviatile shells. It 
is extensively worked for brick-earth to the depth of about 
eight feet. The bluffs before alluded to often consist of a 
terrace of gravel, from thirty to forty feet in thickness, covered 
by an older loess, which is continuous as we ascend the valley 
to Liege. In the suburbs of that city, patches of loess are 
seen at the height of two hundred feet above the level of 
the Meuse. The table-land in that region, composed of Car 
boniferous and Devonian rocks, is about four hundred and 
fifty feet high, and is not overspread with loess. 

A terrace of gravel covered with loess has been mentioned 
as existing on the right bank of the Meuse at Maestricht. 
Answering to it another is also seen on the left bank below 
that city, and a promontory of it projecting into the alluvial 
plain of the Meuse, and approaching to within a hundred yards 
of the river, was cut through during the excavation of a canal 
running from Maestricht to Hocht, between the years 1815 
and 1823. This section occurs at the village of Smeermass, 
and is about sixty feet deep, the lower forty feet consisting of 
stratified gravel, and the upper of twenty feet of loess. The 
number of molars, tusks, and bones (probably parts of entire 


skeletons) of elephants obtained during these diggings, was 
extraordinary. Not a few of them are still preserved in the 
museums of Maestricht and Leyden, together with some 
horns of deer, bones of the ox-tribe and other mammalia, 
and a human lower jaw, with teeth. According to Professor 
Crahay, who published an account of it at the time, this jaw, 
which is now preserved at Leyden, was found at the depth of 
nineteen feet from the surface, where the loess joins the under 
lying gravel, in a stratum of sandy loam resting on gravel, 
and overlaid by some pebbly and sandy beds. The stratum 
is said to have been intact and undisturbed, but the human 
jaw was isolated, the nearest tusk of an elephant being six 
yards removed from it in horizontal distance. 

Most of the other mammalian bones were found, like these 
human remains, in or near the gravel, but some of the tusks 
and teeth of elephants were met with much nearer the sur 
face. I visited the site of these fossils in 1860, in company 
with M. van Binkhorst, and we found the description of the 
ground, published by the late Professor Crahay of Louvain, 
to be very correct.* The projecting portion of the terrace, 
which was cut through in making the canal, is called the hill 
of Caberg, which is flat-topped, sixty feet high, and has a 
steep slope on both sides towards the alluvial plain. M. van 
Binkhorst (who is the author of some valuable works on the 
paleontology of the Maestricht chalk) has recently visited 
Leyden, and ascertained that the human fossil above mentioned 
is still entire in the museum of the university. Although 
we had no opportunity of verifying the authenticity of 
Professor Crahay's statements, we could see no reason for 
suspecting the human jaw to belong to a different geological 
period from that of the extinct elephant. If this were 

* M. van Binkhorst has shown me moir was published in 1836 in the 
the original MS. read to the Maes- Bulletin de 1' Academic Koyale de 
tricht Athenseum in 1823. The me- Belgique, torn. iii. p. 43. 

Z 2 


granted, it might have no claims to a higher antiquity than 
the human remains which Dr. Schmerling disentombed from 
the Belgian caverns ; but the fact of their occurring in a 
post-pliocene alluvial deposit in the open plains, would be 
the first example of such a phenomenon. The top of the hill 
of Caberg is not so high above the Meuse as is the terrace of 
St. Acheul, with its flint implements above the Somme, but 
at St. Acheul no human bones have yet been detected. 

In the museum at Maestricht are preserved a human 
frontal and a pelvic bone, stained of a dark peaty colour ; 
the frontal very remarkable for its lowness, and the promi 
nence of the superciliary ridges, which resemble those of the 
Borreby skull, figured at p. 86. These remains may be the 
same as those alluded to by Professor Crahay in his memoir, 
where he says, that in a deposit in the suburbs of Hocht of a 
black colour, were found leaves, nuts, and freshwater shells 
in a very perfect state, and a human skull of a dark colour. 
They were of an age long posterior to that of the loess con 
taining the bones of elephants, and in which the human jaw 
now at Leyden is said to have been embedded. 

As to the human skeleton, alleged to have been found in 
ancient loess at the village of Keer on the right bank of the 
Meuse, opposite Maestricht, I explored the locality in com 
pany with M. Bosquet, and we satisfied ourselves that the 
proofs advanced in support of its antiquity cannot be de 
pended upon. 













IN the preceding chapters I have endeavoured to show that 
the study of the successive phases of the glacial period 
in Europe, and the enduring marks which they have left on 
many of the solid rocks and on the character of the super 
ficial drift, are of great assistance in enabling us to appreciate 
the vast lapse of ages which are comprised in the post- 
pliocene epoch. They enlarge at the same time our concep 
tion of the antiquity, not only of the living species of animals 
and plants, but of their present geographical distribution, 
and throw light on the chronological relations of these spe 
cies to the earliest date yet ascertained for the existence of 
the human race. That date, it will be seen, is very remote if 
compared to the times of history and tradition, yet very 
modern if contrasted with the length of time during which 
all the living testacea, and even many of the mammalia, have 
inhabited the globe. 

In order to render my account of the phenomena of the 


glacial epoch more complete, I shall describe in this chapter 
some other changes in physical geography, and in the in 
ternal structure of the earth's crust, which" have happened 
in the post-pliocene period, because they differ in kind from 
any previously alluded to, and are of a class which were 
thought by the earlier geologists to belong exclusively to 
epochs anterior to the origin of the existing fauna and flora. 
Of this nature are those faults and violent local dislocations 
of the rocks, and those sharp bendings and foldings of the 
strata, which we so often behold in mountain chains, and 
sometimes in low countries also, especially where the rock- 
formations are of ancient date. 

Post-glacial Dislocations and Foldings of cretaceous and 
drift Strata in the Island of Moen, Denmark 

A striking illustration of such convulsions of post-pliocene 
date may be seen in the Danish island of Moen, which 
is situated about fifty miles south of Copenhagen. The 
island is about sixty miles in circumference, and consists of 
white chalk, several hundred feet thick, overlaid by boulder 
clay and sand, or glacial drift which is made up of several 
subdivisions, some unstratified and others stratified, the whole 
having a mean thickness of sixty feet, but sometimes attain 
ing nearly twice that thickness. In one of the oldest members 
of the formation, fossil marine-shells of existing species have 
been found. 

Throughout the greater part of Moen, the strata of the 
drift are undisturbed and horizontal, as are those of the 
subjacent chalk ; but on the north-eastern coast they have 
been, throughout a certain area, bent, folded, and shifted, 
together with the beds of the underlying cretaceous forma 
tion. Within this area they have been even more deranged 
than is the English chalk with flints along the central axis 


of the Isle of Wight in Hampshire, or of Purbeck in Dorset 
shire. The whole displacement of the chalk is evidently 
posterior in date to the origin of the drift, since the beds of 
the latter are horizontal where the fundamental chalk is hori 
zontal, and inclined, curved, or vertical where the chalk dis 
plays signs of similar derangement. Although I had come 
to these conclusions respecting the structure of Moen in 
1835, after devoting several days in company with Dr. Forch- 
hammer to its examination,* I should have hesitated to cite 
the spot as exemplifying convulsions on so grand a scale, of 
such extremely modern date, had not the island been since 
thoroughly investigated by a most able and reliable authority, 
the Danish geologist, Professor Puggaard, who has published 
a series of detailed sections of the cliffs. 

These cliffs extend through the north-eastern coast of the 
island, called Moens Klint,f where the chalk precipices are 
bold and picturesque, being 300 and 400 feet high, with tall 
beech-trees growing on their summits, and covered here and 
there at their base with huge taluses of fallen drift, verdant 
with wild shrubs and grass, by which the monotony of a 
continuous range of white chalk cliffs is prevented. 

In the low part of the island, at A, fig. 47, or the southern 
extremity of the line of section above alluded to, the drift 
is horizontal, but when we reach B, a change, both in the 
height of the cliffs and in the inclination of the strata, begins 
to be perceptible, and the chalk No. 1 soon makes its appear 
ance from beneath the overlying members of the drift 
Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 5. 

This chalk, with its layers of flints, is so like that of 
England as to require no description. The incumbent 

* Lyell, Geological Transactions, Bern, 1851; and Bulletin de la So- 
2nd series, vol. ii. p. 243. ciete" Geologique de France, 1851. 

t Puggaard, Geologiedlnsel Moen, 




drift consists of the following subdivisions, beginning with 
the lowest : 

No. 2. Stratified loam and sand, five feet thick, containing 
at one spot, near the base of the cliff at s, fig. 48, Cardium 
edule, Tellina solidula, and Turritella, with fragments of 
other shells. Between No. 2 and the chalk No. 1, there 
usually intervenes a breccia of broken chalk flints. 

No. 3. Unstratified blue clay or till, with small pebbles 

Fig. 47 

Southern extremity of Moens Klint (Puggaard). 

A Horizontal drift. 

B Chalk and overlying drift beginning to rise. 

c First flexure and fault. Height of cliff at this point, 180 feet. 

Fig. 48 

Section of Moens Klint (Puggaard), continued from fig. 47. 

s Fossil shells of recent species in the drift at this point.^ 
G Greatest height near G, 280 feet. 

and fragments of Scandinavian rocks occasionally scattered 
through it, twenty feet thick. 

No. 4. A second unstratified mass of yellow and more sandy 
clay forty feet thick, with pebbles and angular polished and 
striated blocks of granite and other Scandinavian rocks, 
transported from a distance. 

No. 5. Stratified sands and gravel, with occasionally large 


erratic blocks ; the whole mass varying from forty to a hun 
dred feet in thickness, but this only in a few spots. 

The angularity of many of the blocks in Nos. 3 and 4, and 
the glaciated surfaces of others, and the transportation from 
a distance attested by their crystalline nature, proves them to 
belong to the northern drift or glacial period. 

It will be seen that the four subdivisions 2, 3, 4, and 5, begin 
to rise at B, fig. 47, and that at c, where the cliff is 180 feet 
high, there is a sharp flexure shared equally by the chalk and 
the incumbent drift. Between D and G, fig. 48, we observe a 
great fracture in the rocks with synclinal and anticlinal folds, 
exhibited in cliffs nearly 300 feet high, the drift beds partici 
pating in all the bendings of the chalk ; that is to say, the 
three lower members of the drift, including No. 2, which, at 
the point s in this diagram, contains the shells of recent 
species before alluded to. 

Near the northern end of the Moens Klint, at a place 
called 'Taler,' more than 300 feet high, are seen similar 
folds, so sharp that there is an appearance of four distinct 
alternations of the glacial and cretaceous formations in vertical 
or highly inclined beds ; the chalk at one point bending over, 
so that the position of all the beds is reversed. 

But the most wonderful shiftings and faultings of the beds 
are observable in the Dronningestol, part of the same cliff, 400 
feet in perpendicular height, where, as shown in fig. 49 (p. 346), 
the drift is thoroughly entangled and mixed up with the 
dislocated chalk. 

If we follow the lines of fault, we may see, says M. Puggaard, 
along the planes of contact of the shifted beds, the marks of 
polishing and rubbing, which the chalk flints have undergone, 
as have many stones in the gravel of the drift, and some of 
these have also been forced into the soft chalk. The manner 
in which the top of some of the arches of bent chalk have 
been cut off in this and several adjoining sections, attests the 




great denudation which accompanied the disturbances, portions 
of the bent strata having been removed, probably while they 
were emerging from beneath the sea. 

Fig. 49 

Post-glacial disturbances of vertical, folded, and shifted strata of chalk and drift, 
in the Dronningestol Moen, height 400 feet (Puggaard). 

1 Chalk, with flints. 

2 Marine stratified loam, lowest member of glacial formation. 

3 Blue clay or till, with erratic blocks unstratified. 

4 Yellow sandy till, with pebbles and glaciated boulders. 

5 Stratified sand and gravel with erratics. 

M. Puggaard has deduced the following conclusions from 
his study of these cliffs. 

1st. The white chalk, when it was still in horizontal strati 
fication, but after it had suffered considerable denudation, 
subsided gradually, so that the lower beds of drift No. 2, with 
their littoral shells, were superimposed on the chalk in a 
shallow sea. 

2nd. The overlying unstratified boulder clays 3 and 4 
were thrown down in deeper water by the aid of floating ice 
coming from the north. 

3rd. Irregular subsidences then began, and occasionally 
partial failures of support, causing the bending and sometimes 
the engulfment of overlying masses both of the chalk and 
drift, and causing the various dislocations above described 
and depicted. The downward movement continued till it 
exceeded 400 feet, for upon the surface even of No 5, in some 
parts of the island, lie huge erratics twenty feet or more in 


diameter, which imply that they were carried by ice in a sea 
of sufficient depth to float large ice-bergs. 

4th. After this subsidence, the re-elevation and partial 
denudation of the cretaceous and glacial beds took place 
during a general upward movement, like that now ex 
perienced in parts of Sweden and Norway. 

In regard to the lines of movement in Moen, M. Puggaard 
believes, after an elaborate comparison of the cliffs with the 
interior of the island, that they took at least three distinct 
directions at as many successive eras, all of post-glacial date ; 
the first line running from ESE. to WNW., with lines 
of fracture at right angles to them ; the second running from 
SSE. to NNW., also with fractures in a transverse direc 
tion ; and lastly, a sinking in a N. and S. direction, with other 
subsidences of contemporaneous date running at right angles, 
or E. and W. 

When we approach the north-west end of Moens Klint, or 
the range of coast above described, the strata begin to be 
less bent and broken, and, after travelling for a short distance 
beyond, we find the chalk and overlying drift in the same 
horizontal position as at the southern end of the Moens Klint. 
What makes these convulsions the more striking is the fact 
that in the other adjoining Danish islands, as well as in a 
large part of Moen itself, both the secondary and tertiary 
formations are quite undisturbed. 

It is impossible to behold such effects of reiterated local 
movements, all of post-tertiary date, without reflecting that, 
but for the accidental presence of the stratified drift, all of 
which might easily, where there has been so much denudation, 
have been missing, even if it had once existed, we might 
have referred the vertically and flexures and faults of the 
rocks to an ancient period, such as the era between the chalk 
with flints and the Maestricht chalk, or to the time of the 
latter formation, or to the eocene, or miocene, or older 


pliocene eras, even the last of them, long prior to the com 
mencement of the glacial epoch. Hence we may be permitted 
to suspect that in some other regions, where we have no such 
means at our command for testing the exact date of certain 
movements, the time of their occurrence may be far more 
modern than we usually suppose. In this way some apparent 
anomalies in the position of erratic blocks, seen occasionally 
at great heights above the parent rocks from which they 
have been detached, might be explained, as well as the irre 
gular direction of certain glacial furrows like those described 
by Professor Keilhau and Mr. Horbye on the mountains of 
the Dovrefjeld in lat. 62 N., where the striation and friction 
is said to be independent of the present shape and slope of 
the mountains.* Although even in such cases it remains to 
be proved whether a general crust of continental ice, like that 
of Greenland, described by Rink (see above, p. 235), would 
not account for the deviation of the furrows and striae from the 
normal directions which they ought to have followed had they 
been due to separate glaciers filling the existing valleys. 

It appears that in general the upward movements in Scan 
dinavia, which have raised sea-beaches containing marine 
shells of recent species to the height of several hundred feet, 
have been tolerably uniform over very wide spaces ; yet a 
remarkable exception to this rule was observed by M. Bravais, 
at Altenfiord, in Finmark, between lat. 70 and 71 N. 
An ancient water-level, indicated by a sandy deposit forming 
a terrace, and by marks of the erosion of the*waves, can be 
followed for thirty miles from south to north along the 
borders of a fiord rising gradually from a height of eighty-five 
feet to an elevation of 220 feet above the sea, or at the rate 
of about four feet in a mile.f 

To pass to another and very remote part of the world, we 

* Observations sur les Phenomenes f Proceedings of the Geological 

d'Erosion en Norwege, 1857. Society, 1845, vol. iv. p. 94. 


have witnessed, so late as January 1855, in the northern 
island of New Zealand, a sudden and permanent rise of land 
on the northern shores of Cook's straits, which at one point, 
called Muko-muka, was so unequal as to amount to nine feet 
vertically, while it declined gradually from this maximum of 
upheaval in a distance of about twenty-three miles north 
west of the greatest rise, to a point where no change of level 
was perceptible. Mr. Edward Koberts, of the Eoyal Engineers, 
employed by the British Government at the time of the 
shock in executing public works on the coast, ascertained 
that the extreme upheaval of certain ancient rocks followed 
a line of fault running at least ninety miles from south to 
north into the interior ; and, what is of great geological 
interest, immediately to the east of this fault, the country, 
consisting of tertiary strata, remained unmoved or stationary ; 
a fact well established by the position of a line of nullipores 
marking the sea-level before the earthquake, both on the 
surface of the tertiary and paleozoic rocks.* 

The repetition of such unequal movements, especially if 
they recurred at intervals along the same lines of fracture, 
would in the course of ages cause the strata to dip at a high 
angle in one direction, while towards the opposite point of 
the compass they would terminate abruptly in a steep escarp 

But it is probable that the multiplication of such move 
ments in the post-tertiary period has rarely been so great as 
to produce results like those above described in Moen, for 
the principal movements in any given period seem to be of 
that more uniform kind spoken of at p. 334, by which the 
topography of limited districts and the position of the 
strata are not visibly altered except in their height relatively 

* Bulletin de la Socie~te Geologique municated to me by Messrs. Eoberts 
de France, vol. xiii. p. 660, 1856, and Walter ManteU. 
where I have described the facts com- 


to the sea. Were it otherwise we should not find conform 
able strata of all ages, including the primary fossiliferous of 
shallow-water origin, which must have remained horizontal 
throughout vast areas during downward movements of several 
thousand feet, going on at the period of their accumulation. 
Still less should we find the same primary strata, such as the 
carboniferous, Devonian, or Silurian, still remaining hori 
zontal over thousands of square leagues, as in parts of North 
America and Eussia, having escaped dislocation and flexure 
throughout the entire series of epochs which separate paleozoic 
from recent times. Not that they have been motionless, for 
they have undergone so much denudation, and of such a kind, 
as can only be explained by supposing the strata to have 
been subjected to great oscillations of level, and exposed in 
some cases repeatedly to the destroying and planing action of 
the waves of the sea. 

It seems probable that the successive convulsions in Moen 
were contemporary with those upward and downward move 
ments of the glacial period which were described in the 
thirteenth and some of the following chapters, and that they 
ended before the upper beds of No. 5, p. 346, with its large 
erratic blocks, were deposited, as some of those beds occurring 
in the disturbed parts of Moen appear to have escaped the 
convulsions to which Nos. 2, 3, and 4 were subjected. If 
this be so, the whole derangement, although post-pliocene, 
may have been anterior to the human epoch, or rather to the 
earliest date to which the existence of man has as yet been 
traced back. 















ON the North American Continent, between the arctic 
circle and the 42nd parallel of latitude, we meet with 
signs of ice-action on a scale as grand if not grander than in 
Europe ; and there also the excess of cold appears to have been 
first felt, at the close of the tertiary, and to have continued 
throughout a large portion of the post-pliocene period. 

The general absence of organic remains in the North 
American glacial formation, makes it as difficult as in Europe, 
to determine what mammalia lived on the continent at the 
time of the most intense refrigeration, or when extensive 
areas were becoming strewed over with glacial drift and 
erratic blocks, but it is certain that a large proboscidean now 
extinct, the Mastodon giganteus Cuv., together with many 
other quadrupeds, some of them now living and others 
extinct, played a conspicuous part in the post-glacial era. 
By its frequency as a fossil species, this pachyderm represents 


the European Mephas primigenius, although the latter also 
occurs fossil in the United States and Canada, and abounds, 
as I learn from Sir John Kichardson, in latitudes farther north 
than those to which the mastodon has been traced. 

In the state of New York, the mastodon is not unfrequently 
met with in bogs and lacustrine deposits formed in hollows in 
the drift, and therefore, in a geological position, much resem 
bling that of recent peat and shell-marl in the British Isles, 
Denmark, or the Valley of the Somme, as before described. 
Sometimes entire skeletons have been discovered within a 
few feet of the surface, in peaty earth at the bottom of small 
ponds, which the agriculturists had drained. The shells in 
these cases belong to freshwater genera, such as Limnea, 
PTiysa, Planorbis, Cyclas, and others, differing from Euro 
pean species, but the same as those now proper to ponds and 
lakes in the same parts of America. 

I have elsewhere given an account of several of these 
localities which I visited in 1842,* and can state that they 
certainly have a more modern aspect than almost all the 
European deposits in which remains of the mammoth occur, 
although a few instances are cited of Elephas primigenius 
having been dug out of peat in Great Britain. Thus I was 
shown a mammoth's tooth in the museum at Torquay, in 
Devonshire, which is believed to have been dredged up from 
a deposit of vegetable matter now partially submerged beneath 
the sea. A more elevated part of the same peaty formation 
constitutes the bottom of the valley in which Tor Abbey 
stands. This individual elephant must certainly have been of 
more modern date than his fellows found fossil in the gravel of 
the Brixham cave, before described (p. 100), for it flourished 
when the physical geography of Devonshire, unlike that of 
the cave period, was almost identical with that now established. 

* Travels in North America, vol. i. p. 55, London, 1845 ; and Manual of 
Geology, ch. xiL 5th ed. p. 144. 


I cannot help suspecting that many tusks and teeth of the 
mammoth, said to have been found in peat, may be as spu 
rious as are the horns of the rhinoceros cited more than once 
in the s Memoirs of the Wernerian Society,' as having been ob 
tained from shell-marl in Forfarshire and other Scotch coun 
ties ; yet, between the period when the mammoth was most 
abundant, and that when it died out, there must have elapsed 
a long interval of ages when it was growing more and more 
scarce ; and we may expect to find occasional stragglers buried 
in deposits long subsequent in date to others, until at last we 
may succeed in tracing a passage from the post-pliocene to 
the recent fauna, by geological monuments, which will fill 
up the gap before alluded to (p. 144) as separating the era 
of the flint tools of Amiens and Abbeville from that of the peat 
of the Valley of the Somme. 

How far the lacustrine strata of North America, above 
mentioned, may help to lessen this hiatus, and whether some 
individuals of the Mastodon giganteus may have come down 
to the confines of the historical period, is a question not so 
easily answered as might at first sight be supposed. A geolo 
gist might naturally imagine that the fluviatile formation of 
Groat Island, seen at the falls of Niagara, and at several 
points below the falls,* was very modern, seeing that the 
fossil shells contained in it are all of species now inhabiting 
the waters of the Niagara, and seeing also that the deposit is 
more modern than the glacial drift of the same locality. In 
fact, the old river bed, in which bones of the mastodon occur, 
holds the same position relatively to the boulder formation as 
tbe strata of shell-marl and boggy-earth, with bones of mas 
todon, so frequent in the State of New York, bear to the glacial 
drift, and all may be of contemporaneous date. But in the 
case of the valley of the Niagara, we happen to have a measure 

* Travels in North America, by the Author, vol. i. ch. ii. ; and vol. ii. ch. xix. 



of time, which is wanting in the other localities, namely, 
the test afforded by the recession of the falls, an operation 
still in progress, by which the 'deep ravine of the Niagara, 
seven miles long, between Queenstown and Goat Island, has 
been hollowed out. This ravine is not only post-glacial, but 
also posterior in date to the fluviatile or mastodon-bearing 
beds. The individual therefore found fossil near Groat Island 
flourished before the gradual excavation of the deep and long 
chasm, and we must reckon its antiquity, not by thousands, 
but by tens of thousands of years, if I have correctly estimated 
the minimum of time which was required for the erosion of 
that great ravine.* 

The stories widely circulated of bones of the mastodon 
having been observed with their surfaces pierced as if by 
arrow-heads, or bearing the marks of wounds inflicted 
by some stone implement, must in future be more carefully 
inquired into, for we can scarcely doubt that the mastodon 
in North America lived down to a period when the mammoth 
coexisted with man in Europe. But I need say no more on 
this subject, having already (p. 200) explained my views in 
regard to the evidence of the antiquity of man in North 
America, when treating of the human bone discovered at 
Natchez, on the Mississippi. 

In Canada and the United States, we experience the same 
difficulty as in Europe, when we attempt to distinguish 
between glacial formations of submarine and those of supra- 
marine origin. In the New World, as in Scotland and 
England, marine shells of this era have rarely been traced 
higher than five hundred feet above the sea, and seven hun 
dred feet seems to be the maximum to which at present they 
are known to ascend. In the same countries, erratic blocks 
have travelled from N. to S., following the same direction as 

* Principles of Geology, 9th ed. p. 2 ; and Travels in North America, TO! i. 
p. 32, 1845. 


the glacial furrows and striae imprinted almost everywhere on 
the solid rocks underlying the drift. Their direction rarely 
deviates more than fifteen degrees E. or W. of the meridian, 
so that we can scarcely doubt, in spite of the general dearth 
of marine shells, that icebergs floating in the sea, and often 
running aground on its rocky bottom, were the instruments 
by which most of the blocks were conveyed to southern 

There are, nevertheless, in the United States, as in Europe, 
several groups of mountains which have acted as independent 
centres for the dispersion of erratics, as, for example, the 
White Mountains, latitude 44 N., the highest of which, 
Mount Washington, rises to about 6,300 feet above the sea ; 
and according to Professor Hitchcock, some of the loftiest 
of the hills of Massachusetts once sent down their glaciers 
into the surrounding lower country. 

Great southern Extension of Trains of Erratic Blocks in 
Berkshire, Massachusetts, U. S., lat. 42 N. 

Having treated so fully in this volume of the events of the 
glacial period, I am unwilling to conclude without laying 
before the reader the evidence displayed in North America, 
of ice-action in latitudes farther south, by about ten degrees 
than any seen on an equal scale in Europe. This extension 
southwards of glacial phenomena, in regions where there are 
no snow-covered mountains like the Alps to explain the ex 
ception, nor any hills of more than moderate elevation, consti 
tutes a feature of the western as compared to the eastern 
side of the Atlantic, and must be taken into account when we 
speculate on the causes of the refrigeration of the northern 
hemisphere during the post-pliocene period. 

In 1852, accompanied by Mr. James Hall, State geologist 
of New York, author of many able and well-known works 

A A 2 


on geology and paleontology, I examined the glacial drift 
and erratics of the county of Berkshire, Massachusetts, and 
those of the adjoining parts of the State of New York, a 
district about 130 miles inland from the Atlantic coast, 
and situated due west of Boston, in lat. 42 25' north. This 
latitude corresponds in Europe to that of the north of Por 
tugal. Here numerous detached fragments of rock are seen, 
having a linear arrangement or being continuous in long 
parallel trains, running nearly in straight lines over hill and 
dale for distances of five, ten, and twenty miles, and some 
times greater distances. Seven of the more conspicuous 
of these trains, from 1 to 7 inclusive, fig. 50, are laid down 
in the accompanying map or ground plan.* It will be re 
marked that they run in a NW. and SE. direction, or almost 
transversely to the ranges of hills A, B, and c, which run NNE. 
and SSW. The crests of these chains are about 800 feet in 
height above the intervening valleys. The blocks of the 
northernmost train, No. 7, are of limestone, derived from the 
calcareous chain B ; those of the two trains next to the south, 
Nos. 6 and 5, are composed exclusively in the first part of 
their course of a green chloritic rock of great toughness, 
but after they have passed the ridge B, a mixture of calcareous 
blocks is observed. After traversing the valley for a distance 
of six miles, these two trains pass through depressions or gaps 
in the range c, as they had previously done in crossing the 
range B, showing that the dispersion of the erratics bears some 
relation to the actual inequalities of the surface, although the 
course of the same blocks is perfectly independent of the 
more leading features of the geography of the country, or 
those by which the present lines of drainage are determined. 
The greater number of the green chloritic fragments in 

* This ground plan, and a further livered by me to the Koyal Institu- 
account of the Berkshire erratics, was tion of Great Britain, April 27, 1855, 
given in an abstract of a lecture de- and published in their Proceedings. 


Fig. 50 

s \V? 

00 '.^ 6. Valley. '; 


Distance in a straight line, between the mountain ranges A and c, about 

A Canaan range, in the State of New York. The crest consists of green 
chloritic rock. 

B Bichmond range, the western division of which consists in Merriman's 
Mount of the same green rock as A, but in a more schistose form, while the 
eastern division is composed of slaty limestone. 

c The Lenox range, consisting in part of mica-schist, and in some districts 
of crystalline limestone. 

d Knob in the range A, from which most of the train No. 6 is supposed "o 
have been derived. 

e Supposed starting point of the train No. 5 in the range A. 

/ Hiatus of 175 yards, or space without blocks. 

g Sherman's House. 

h Perry's Peak. 

k FlatKock. 

I Merriman's Mount. 


m Dupey's Mount. 

n Largest block of train, No. 6. See figs. 51 and 52, p. 359. 

p Point of divergence of part of the train No. 6, where a branch is sent off 
to No. 5. 

No. 1 The most southerly train examined by Messrs. Hall and Lyell, 
between Stockbridge and Kichmond, composed of blocks of black slate, blue 
limestone, and some of the green Canaan rock, with here and there a boulder 
of white quartz. 

No. 2 Train composed chiefly of large limestone masses, some of them 
divided into two or more fragments, by natural joints. 

No. 3 Train composed of blocks of limestone and the green Canaan rock ; 
passes south of the Kichmond Station on the Albany and Boston railway; is 
less defined than Nos. 1 and 2. 

No. 4 Train chiefly of limestone blocks, some of them thirty feet in 
diameter, running to the north-west of the Eichmond Station, and passing 
south of the Methodist Meeting-house, where it is intersected by a railway 

No. 5 South train of Dr. Eeid, composed entirely of large blocks of the 
green chloritic Canaan rock ; passes north of the Old Eichmond Meeting-house, 
and is three-quarters of a mile north of the preceding train (No. 4). 

No. 6 The great or principal train (north train of Dr. Eeid), composed of 
very large blocks of the Canaan rock, diverges at p, and unites by a branch 
with train No. 5. 

No. 7 A well-defined train of limestone blocks, with a few of the Canaan 
rock, traced from the Eichmond to the slope of the Lenox range. 

trains 5 and 6 have evidently come from the ridge A, 
and a large proportion of the whole from its highest summit, 
d, where the crest of the ridge has been worn into those dome- 
shaped masses called f roches moutonnees,' already alluded to 
(pp. 269 and 293), and where several fragments having this 
shape, some of them thirty feet long, are seen in situ, others 
only slightly removed from their original position, as if they 
had been just ready to set out on their travels. Although 
smooth and rounded on their tops, they are angular on their 
lower parts, where their outline has been derived from the 
natural joints of the rock. Had these blocks been conveyed 
from d by glaciers, they would have radiated in all directions 
from a centre, whereas not one even of the smaller ones is 
found to the westward of A, though a very slight force would 
have made them roll down to the base of that ridge, which is 
very steep on its western declivity. It is clear, therefore, that 
the propelling power, whatever it may have been, acted 
exclusively in a south-easterly direction. Professor Hall and 




I observed one of the green blocks, twenty-four feet long, 
poised upon another about nineteen feet in length. The 
largest of all on the west flank of m, or Dupey's Mount, 
called the Alderman, is above ninety feet in diameter, 

Fig. 51 

Erratic dome-shaped block of compact chloritic rock (n map, 
fig. 50), near the Eichmond Meeting-house, Berkshire, Massachusetts, 
lat, 42 25' N. Length, fifty-two feet ; width, forty feet ; height 
above the soil, fifteen feet. 

Fig. 52 

Section showing position of the block, fig. 51. 

a The large block. Fig. 51 and n map, p. 357. 

b Fragment detached from the same. 

c Unstratified drift with boulders. 

d Silurian limestone in inclined stratification. 

and nearly three hundred feet in circumference. We counted 
at some points between forty and fifty blocks visible at once, 
the smallest of them larger than a camel. 


The annexed drawing represents one of the best known of 
train No. 6, being that marked n on the map, p. 357. Ac 
cording to our measurement it is fifty-two feet long by forty 
in width, its height above the drift in which it is partially 
buried being fifteen feet. At the distance of several yards 
occurs a smaller block, three or four feet in height, twenty 
feet long, and fourteen broad, composed of the same compact 
chloritic rock, and evidently a detached fragment from the 
bigger mass, to the lower and angular part of which it would 
fit on exactly. This erratic n has a regularly rounded top, 
worn and smoothed like the roches moutonnees before men 
tioned, but no part of the attrition can have occurred since it 
left its parent rock, the angles of the lower portion being 
quite sharp and unblunted. 

From railway cuttings through the drift of the neighbour 
hood, and other artificial excavations, we may infer that the 
position of the block n, if seen in a vertical section, would be 
as represented in fig. 52. The deposit c in that section, 
p. 359, consists of sand, mud, gravel, and stones, for the most 
part unstratified, resembling the till or boulder clay of 
Europe. It varies in thickness from ten to fifty feet, being 
of greater depth in the valleys. The uppermost portion is 
occasionally, though rarely, stratified. Some few of the im 
bedded stones have flattened, polished, striated, and furrowed 
sides. They consist invariably, like the seven trains above 
mentioned, of kinds of rock confined to the region lying to 
the NW., none of them having come from any other quarter. 
Whenever the surface of the underlying rock has been exposed 
by the removal of the superficial detritus, a polished and 
furrowed surface is seen, like that underneath a glacier, the 
direction of the furrows being from NW. to SE., or corre 
sponding to the course of the large erratics. 

As all the blocks, instead of being dispersed from a centre, 
have been carried in one direction, and across the ridges A, B, 


c, and the intervening valleys, the hypothesis of glaciers is 
out of the question. I conceive, therefore, that the erratics 
were conveyed to the places they now occupy by coast ice, 
when the country was submerged beneath the waters of a 
sea cooled by icebergs coming annually from arctic regions. 

Fig. 53 


d, e Masses of floating ice carrying fragments of rock. 

Suppose the highest peaks of the ridges A, B, c, in the an 
nexed diagram, to be alone above water, forming islands, and 
d e to be masses of floating ice, which drifted across the Canaan 
and Eichmond valleys at a time when they were marine 
channels, separating islands, or rather chains of islands, having 
a NNE. and SSW. direction. A fragment of ice such as 
f/, freighted with a block from A, might run aground, and add 
to the heap of erratics at the NW. base of the island (now 
ridge) B, or, passing through a sound between B and the next 
island of the same group, might float on till it reached the 
channel between B and c. Year after year two such exposed 
cliffs in the Canaan range as d and e of the map, fig. 50, 
p. 357, undermined by the waves, might serve as the points of 
departure of blocks, composing the trains Nos. 5 and 6. It 
may be objected that oceanic currents could not always have 
had the same direction ; this may be true, but during a short 
season of the year when the ice was breaking up the prevailing 
current may have always run SE. 

If it be asked why the blocks of each train are not 
more scattered, especially when far from their source, it may 
be observed, that after passing through sounds separating 
islands, they issued again from a new and narrow starting 


point ; moreover, we must not exaggerate the regularity of 
the trains, as their width is sometimes twice as great in one 
place as in another ; and No. 6 sends off a branch at p 9 which 
joins No. 5. There are also stragglers, or large blocks, 
here and there in the spaces between the two trains. As to 
the distance to which any given block would be carried, that 
must have depended on a variety of circumstances ; such as 
the strength of the current, t the direction of the wind, the 
weight of the block, or the quantity and draught of the ice 
attached to it. The smaller fragments would, on the whole, 
have the best chance of going farthest ; because, in the first 
place, they were more numerous, and then, being lighter, they 
required less ice to float them, and would not ground so 
readily on shoals, or, if stranded, would be more easily started 
again on their travels. Many of the blocks, which at first 
sight seem to consist of single masses, are found, when ex 
amined, to be made up of two, three, or more pieces, divided 
by natural joints. In case of a second removal by ice, one 
or more portions would become detached and be drifted to 
different points further on. Whenever this happened, the 
original size would be lessened, and the angularity of the 
block previously worn by the breakers would be restored, and 
this tendency to split may explain why some of the far-trans 
ported fragments remain very angular. 

These various considerations may also account for the fact 
that the average size of the blocks of all the seven trains 
laid down on the plan, fig. 50, lessens sensibly in proportion 
as we recede from the principal points of departure of par 
ticular kinds of erratics, yet not with any regularity, a huge 
block now and then recurring when the rest of the train 
consists of smaller ones. 

All geologists acquainted with the district now under con 
sideration are agreed that the mountain ranges A, B, and c, as 
well as the adjoining valleys, had assumed their actual form 


and position before the drift and erratics accumulated on and 
in them, and before the surface of the fixed rocks was polished 
and furrowed. I have the less hesitation in ascribing the 
transporting power to coast-ice, because I saw, in 1852, an 
angular block of sandstone, eight feet in diameter, which had 
been brought down several miles by ice, only three years before, 
to the mouth of the Petitcodiac estuary, in Nova Scotia, 
where it joins the Bay of Fundy ; and I ascertained that on 
the shores of the same bay, at the South Joggins, in the year 
1850, much larger blocks had been removed by coast-ice, 
and after they had floated half a mile, had been dropped in 
salt water by the side of a pier built for loading vessels with 
coal, so that it was necessary at low tide to blast these huge 
ice-borne rocks with gunpowder, in order that the vessels 
might be able to draw up alongside the pier. These recent 
exemplifications of the vast carrying powers of ice occurred 
in lat. 46 N. (corresponding to that of Bordeaux), in a bay 
never invaded by icebergs. 

I may here remark that a sheet of ice of moderate thick 
ness, if it extend over a wide area, may suffice to buoy up 
the largest erratics which fall upon it. The size of these will 
depend, not on the intensity of the cold, but on the manner 
in which the rock is jointed, and the consequent dimensions 
of the blocks into which it splits, when falling from an 
undermined cliff. 

When I first endeavoured in the ( Principles of Geology,' in 
1830,* to explain the causes, both of the warmer and colder 
climates, which have at former periods prevailed on the 
globe, I referred to successive variations in the height and 
position of the land, and its extent relatively to the sea in 
polar and equatorial latitudes also to fluctuations in the 
course of oceanic currents and other geographical conditions, 

* 1st edit. ch. vii. ; 9th edit. ib. 


by the united influence of which I still believe the principal 
revolutions in the meteorological state of the atmosphere 
at different geological periods have been brought about. The 
Gulf Stream was particularly alluded to by me as moderating 
the winter climate of northern Europe, and as depending for 
its direction on temporary and accidental peculiarities, in 
the shape of the land, especially that of the narrow Straits of 
Bahama, which a slight modification in the earth's crust would 
entirely alter. 

Mr. Hopkins, in a valuable essay on the causes of former 
changes of climate,* has attempted to calculate how much 
the annual temperature of Europe would be lowered if this 
Grulf Stream were turned in some other and new direction, 
and estimates the amount at about six or seven degrees of 
Fahrenheit. He also supposes that if at the same time a con 
siderable part of northern and central Europe were submerged, 
so that a cold current from the arctic seas should sweep over 
it, an additional refrigeration of three or four degrees would 
be produced. He has speculated in the same essay on the 
effects which would be experienced in the eastern hemisphere 
if the same mighty current of warm water, instead of 
crossing the Atlantic, were made to run northwards from the 
Grulf of Mexico through the region now occupied by the valley 
of the Mississippi, and so onwards to the arctic regions. 

After reflecting on what has been said in the thirteenth 
chapter of the submergence and re-elevation of the British 
Isles and the adjoining parts of Europe, and the rising 
and sinking of the Alps, and the basins of some of the great 
rivers flowing from that chain, since the commencement of the 
glacial period, a geologist will not be disposed to object to the 
theory above adverted to, on the score of its demanding too 
much conversion of land into sea, or almost any amount of geo- 

* Hopkins, Geological Quarterly Journal, vol. viii. p. 56, 1852. 


graphical change in post-pliocene times. But a difficulty of 
another kind presents itself. We have seen that, during the 
glacial period, the cold in Europe extended much farther south 
than it does at present, and in this chapter we have demon 
strated that in North America the cold also extended no less 
than 10 of latitude still farther southwards than in Europe; so 
that if a great body of heated water, instead of flowing north 
eastward, were made to pass through what is now the centre 
of the American continent towards the Arctic circle, it could 
not fail to mitigate the severity of the winter's cold in pre 
cisely those latitudes where the cold was greatest, and where 
it has left monuments of ice-action surpassing in extent any 
exhibited on the European side of the ocean. 

In the actual state of the globe, the isothermal lines, or 
rather the lines of equal winter temperature, when traced 
eastward from Europe to North America, bend 10 south, 
there being a marked excess of winter cold in corresponding 
latitudes west of the Atlantic. During the glacial period, 
viewing it as a whole, we behold signs of a precisely similar 
deflection of these same isochimenal lines when followed from 
east to west ; so that if, in the hope of accounting for the 
former severity of glacial action in Europe, we suppose the 
absence of the Grulf Stream and imagine a current of equi 
valent magnitude to have flowed due north from the Grulf of 
Mexico, we introduce, as we have just hinted, a source of heat 
into precisely that part of the continent where the extreme 
conditions of refrigeration are most manifest. Viewed in this 
light, the hypothesis in question would render the glacial 
phenomena described in the present chapter more perplexing 
and anomalous than ever. But here another question arises, 
whether the eras at which the maximum of cold was attained 
on the opposite sides of the Atlantic were really contem 
poraneous? We have now discovered not only that the 
glacial period was of vast duration, but that it passed through 


various phases and oscillations of temperature; so that, 
although the chief polishing and furrowing of the rocks and 
transportation of erratics in Europe and North America may 
have taken place contemporaneously, according to the ordinary 
language of geology, or when the same testacea and the same 
post-pliocene assemblage of mammalia flourished, yet the 
extreme development of cold on the opposite sides of the 
ocean may not have been strictly simultaneous, but, on the 
contrary, the one may have preceded or followed the other by 
a thousand or more than a thousand centuries. 

It is probable that the greatest refrigeration of Norway, 
Sweden, Scotland, Wales, the Vosges, and the Alps coin 
cided very nearly in time ; but when the Scandinavian and 
Scotch mountains were encrusted with a general covering of 
ice, similar to that now enveloping Greenland, this last country 
may not have been in nearly so glacial a condition as now, 
just as we find that the old icy crust and great glaciers, 
which have left their mark on the mountains of Norway and 
Sweden, have now disappeared, precisely at a time when the 
accumulation of ice in Greenland is so excessive. In other 
words, we see that in the present state of the northern hemi 
sphere, at the distance of about fifteen hundred miles, two 
meridional zones, enjoying very different conditions of tem 
perature, may co-exist, and we are, therefore, at liberty to 
imagine some former alternations of colder and milder 
climates on the opposite sides of the ocean throughout the 
post-pliocene era of a compensating kind, the cold on the one 
side balancing the milder temperature on the other. By 
assuming such a succession of events we can more easily 
explain why there has not been a greater extermination of 
species, both terrestrial and aquatic, in polar and temperate 
regions, during the glacial epoch, and why so many species 
are common to pre-glacial and post-glacial times. 

The numerous plants which are common to the temperate 


zones N. and S. of the equator have been referred by Mr. 
Darwin and Dr. Hooker to migrations, which took place along 
mountain chains running from N. to S. during some of the 
colder phases of the glacial epoch.* Such an hypothesis 
enables us to dispense with the doctrine that the same species 
ever originated independently in twodistinct and distant are as ; 
and it becomes more feasible if we admit the doctrine of the 
co-existence of meridional belts of warmer and colder climate, 
instead of the simultaneous prevalence of extreme cold both 
in the eastern and western hemisphere. It also seems neces 
sary, as colder currents of water always flow to lower lati 
tudes, while warmer ones are running towards polar regions, 
that some such compensation should take place, and that 
an increase of cold in one region must to a certain extent 
be balanced by a mitigation of temperature elsewhere. 

Sir John F. Herschel, in his recent work on e Physical Geo 
graphy,' when speaking of the open sea which is caused in 
part of the polar regions by the escape of ice through Behring's 
Straits, and the flow of warmer water northwards through the 
same channel, observes that these straits, by which the conti 
nents of Asia and North America are now parted, ' are ooly 
thirty miles broad where narrowest, and only twenty-five 
fathoms in their greatest depth.' But ' this narrow channel,' 
he adds, 'is yet important in the economy of nature, inasmuch 
as it allows a portion of the circulating water from a warmer 
region to find its way into the polar basin, aiding thereby not 
only to mitigate the extreme rigour of the polar cold, but to 
prevent in all probability a continual accretion of ice, which 
else might rise to a mountainous height.' f 

Behring's Straits, here alluded to, happen to agree singularly 
in width and depth with the Straits of Dover, the difference 

* Darwin, Origin of Species, ch. xi. p. 365 ; Hooker, Flora of Australia, 
Introduction, p. 18. 

f Herschel' s Physical Geography, p. 41, 1861. 


in depth not being more than three or four feet ; so that at 
the rate of upheaval, which is now going on in many parts of 
Scandinavia, of two and a half feet in a century, such straits 
might be closed in 3000 years, and a vast accumulation of ice 
to the northward commence forthwith. 

But, on the other hand, although such an accumulation 
might spread its refrigerating influence for many miles south 
wards beyond the new barrier, the warm current which now 
penetrates through the straits, and which at other times is 
chilled by floating ice issuing from them, would, when totally 
excluded from all communication with the icy sea, have its 
temperature raised and its course altered, so that the climate 
of some other area must immediately begin to improve. 

The scope and limits of this volume forbid my pursuing 
these speculations and reasonings farther ; but I trust I 
have said enough to show that the monuments of the glacial 
period, when more thoroughly investigated, will do much 
towards expanding our views as to the antiquity of the fauna 
and flora now contemporary with man, and will therefore 
enable us the better to determine the time at which man 
began in the northern hemisphere to form part of the existing 














THE ages of stone and bronze, so called by archaeologists, 
were spoken of in the earlier chapters of this work. 
That of bronze has been traced back to times anterior to the 
Roman occupation of Helvetia, Gaul, and other countries north 
of the Alps. When weapons of that mixed metal were in use, 
a somewhat uniform civilisation seems to have prevailed over 
a wide extent of central and northern Europe, and the long 
duration of such a state of things in Denmark and Switzer 
land is shown by the gradual improvement which took place 
in the useful and ornamental arts. Such progress is attested 
by the increasing variety of the forms, and the more perfect 
finish and tasteful decoration of the tools and utensils ob 
tained from the more modern deposits of the bronze age, those 

B B 


from the upper layers of peat, for example, as compared to those 
found in the lower ones. The great number also of the Swiss 
lake-dwellings of the bronze age, (those already discovered 
amounting to about seventy,) and the large population which 
some of them were capable of containing, afford indication 
of a considerable lapse of time, as does the thickness of the 
stratum of mud in which, in some of the lakes, the works of 
art are entombed. The unequal antiquity, also, of the 
settlements, is occasionally attested by the different degrees 
of decay which the wooden stakes or piles have undergone, 
some of them projecting more above the mud than others, 
while all the piles of the antecedent age of stone have 
rotted away quite down to the level of the mud, such part 
of them only as was originally driven into the bed of the 
lake having escaped decomposition.* 

Among the monuments of the stone period, which im 
mediately preceded that of bronze, the polished hatchets 
called celts are abundant, and were in very general use in 
Europe before metallic tools were introduced. We learn, 
from the Danish peat and shell-mounds, and from the older 
Swiss lake-settlements, that the first inhabitants were hunters, 
who fed almost entirely on game, but their food in after 
ages consisted more and more of tamed animals, and, still 
later, a more complete change to a pastoral state took place, 
accompanied, as population increased, by the cultivation of 
some cereals (p. 21). 

Both the shells and quadrupeds, belonging to the ages of 
stone and bronze, consist exclusively of species now living 
in Europe, the fauna being the same as that which flourished 
in G-aul at the time when it was conquered by Julius Csesar, 
even the Bos primigenius, the only animal of which the 
wild type is lost, being still represented, according to Cuvier, 

* Troy on, Habitations lacustres. Lausanne, 1860. 


Bell, and Kutimeyer, by one of the domesticated races of 
cattle now in Europe. (See p. 25.) 

These monuments, therefore, whether of stone or bronze, 
belong to what I have termed geologically the Kecent Period, 
the definition of which some may think rather too dependent 
on negative evidence, or on the non-discovery hitherto of 
extinct mammalia, such as the mammoth, which may one 
day turn up in a fossil state in some of the oldest peaty 
deposits, as, indeed, it is already said to have done at some 
spots, though I have failed, as yet, to obtain authentic 
evidence of the fact.* No doubt some such exceptional cases 
may be met with in the course of future investigations, for 
we are still imperfectly acquainted with the entire fauna of 
the age of stone in Denmark, as we may infer from an 
opinion expressed by Steenstrup, that some of the instru 
ments exhumed by antiquaries from the Danish peat are 
made of the bones and horns of the elk and reindeer. Yet 
no skeleton or uncut bone of either of those species has 
hitherto been observed in the same peat. 

Nevertheless, the examination made by naturalists of the 
various Danish and Swiss deposits of the recent period has 
been so searching, that the finding in them of a stray 
elephant or rhinoceros, should it ever occur, would prove 
little more than that some few individuals lingered on, when 
the species was on the verge of extinction, and such rare 
exceptions would not render the classification above pro 
posed inappropriate. 

At the time when many wild quadrupeds and birds were 
growing scarce, and some of them becoming locally ex 
tirpated in Denmark, great changes were taking place in the 

* A molar of E. primigenius, in a submerged mass of vegetable matter 

very fresh state, in the museum at at the extremity of the valley in which 

Torquay, believed to have been washed Tor Abbey stands, is the best case I 

up by the waves of the sea out of the have seen. 

B B 2 


vegetation. The pine, or Scotch fir, buried in the oldest 
peat, gave place at length to the oak, and the oak, after 
flourishing for ages, yielded, in its turn, to the beech, the 
periods when these three forest trees predominated in suc 
cession tallying pretty nearly with the ages of stone, bronze, 
and iron in Denmark (p. 16). In the same country, also, 
during the stone period, various fluctuations, as we have 
seen, occurred in physical geography. Thus, on the ocean 
side of certain islands, the old refuse-heaps, or 'kitchen- 
middens,' were destroyed by the waves, the cliffs having 
wasted away, while, on the side of the Baltic, where the sea 
was making no encroachment, or where the land was some 
times gaining on the sea, such mounds remained uninjured. 
It was also shown, that the oyster, which supplied food to 
the primitive people, attained its full size in parts of the 
Baltic where it cannot now exist, owing to a want of saltness 
in the water, and that certain marine univalves and bivalves, 
such as the common periwinkle, mussel, and cockle, of which 
the castaway shells are found in the mounds, attained in the 
olden time their full dimensions, like the oysters, whereas 
the same species, though they still live on the coast of the 
inland sea adjoining the mounds, are dwarfed, and never half 
their natural size, the water being rendered too fresh for them 
by the influx of so many rivers. 

As for several calculations, in which certain archaeologists 
and geologists of merit have indulged, in the hope of arriving 
at some positive dates, or exact estimates of the minimum of 
time required for the changes in physical geography, or in 
the range and numerical preponderance of certain species of 
animals, or the advance in human civilisation in the Eecent 
Period, or during the ages of stone, bronze, and iron, 
whether the computation related to the growth of peat, or 
to the conversion of water into land, since some lake settle 
ments were founded, or the various depths at which, in the 


delta of the Tiniere, vegetable soils have been met with, 
containing human bones and works of art of the Roman, 
the bronze, and the stone periods, they can only be con 
sidered, as yet, as being tentative, and, if a rough approxi 
mation to the truth has been made, it is all that can be 
expected. (See p. 27 et seq.) They have led to the assign 
ment of 4,000 and 7,000 years before our time as the lowest 
antiquity which can be ascribed to certain events and monu 
ments; but much collateral evidence will be required to 
confirm these estimates, and to decide whether the number 
of centuries has been under or over-rated. 

Between the newer or recent division of the stone period 
and the older division, which has been called the Post -pliocene, 
there was evidently a vast interval of time a gap in the 
history of the past, into which many monuments of inter 
mediate date will one day have to be intercalated. Of this 
kind are those caves in the south of France, in which M. 
Lartet has lately found bones of the reindeer, associated with 
works of art somewhat more advanced in style than those of 
St. Acheul or of Aurignac (p. 190). In the valley of the 
Somme, we have seen that peat exists of great thickness, 
containing in its upper layers Roman and Celtic memo 
rials, the whole of which has been of slow growth, in basins 
or depressions conforming to the present contour and drain 
age levels of the country, and long posterior in date to older 
gravels, containing bones of the mammoth and a large number 
of flint implements of a very rude and antique type. Some 
of those gravels were accumulated in the channels of rivers 
which flowed at higher levels, by a hundred feet, than the 
present streams, and before the valley had attained its present 
depth and form. No intermixture has been observed in 
those ancient river beds of any polished Celtic weapons/ or 
other relics of the more modern times, or of the second or 
6 Recent ' stone period, nor any interstratified peat ; and the 


climate of those Post-pliocene ages, when Man was a 
denizen of the north-west of France and of southern and cen 
tral England, appears to have been much more severe in 
winter than it is now in the same region, though far less cold 
than in the glacial period which immediately preceded. 

We may presume that the time demanded for the gradual 
dying out or extirpation of a large number of wild beasts 
which figure in the Post-pliocene strata, and are missing in 
the Eecent fauna, was of protracted duration, for we know 
how tedious a task it is in our own times, even with the aid 
of fire-arms, to exterminate a noxious quadruped, a wolf, for 
example, in any region comprising within it an extensive 
forest or a mountain chain. In many villages in the north 
of Bengal, the tiger still occasionally carries off its human 
victims, and the abandonment of late years by the natives of 
a part of the Sunderbunds or lower delta of the Granges, 
which they once peopled, is attributed chiefly to the ravages 
of the tiger. It is probable that causes more general and 
powerful than the agency of Man, alterations in climate, 
variations in the range of many species of animals, vertebrate 
and invertebrate, and of plants, geographical changes in the 
height, depth, and extent of land and sea, some or all of 
these combined, have given rise, in a vast series of years, to 
the annihilation, not only of many large mammalia, but to 
the disappearance of the Cyrena fluminalis, once common in 
the rivers of Europe, and to the different range or relative 
abundance of other shells which we find in the European 

That the growing power of Man may have lent its aid as the 
destroying cause of many Post-pliocene species, must, however, 
be granted ; yet, before the introduction of fire-arms, or even 
the use of improved weapons of stone, it seems more wonder 
ful that the aborigines were able to hold their own against 
the cave-lion, hyaena, and wild bull, and to cope with such 


enemies, than that they failed to bring about their speedy 

It is already clear that Man was contemporary in Europe 
with two species of elephant, E.primigenius and E. antiquus, 
two, also, of rhinoceros, R. tichorhinus and R. hemitcecus 
(Falc.), at least one species of hippopotamus, the cave-bear, 
cave-lion, and cave-hyaena, various bovine, equine, and cer 
vine animals now extinct, and many smaller carnivora, 
rodentia, and insectivora. While these were slowly passing 
away, the musk buffalo, reindeer, and other arctic species, 
which have survived to our times, were retreating northwards, 
from the valleys of the Thames and Seine, to their present 
more arctic haunts. 

The human skeletons of the Belgian caverns of times co 
eval with the mammoth and other extinct mammalia, do not 
betray any signs of a marked departure in their structure, 
whether of skull or limb, from the modern standard of certain 
living races of the human family. As to the remarkable 
Neanderthal skeleton (Ch. V. p. 75), it is at present too iso 
lated and exceptional, and its age too uncertain, to warrant 
us in relying on its abnormal and ape-like characters, as 
bearing on the question whether the farther back we 
trace Man into the past, the more we shall find him approach 
in bodily conformation to those species of the anthropoid 
quadrumana which are most akin to him in structure. 

In the descriptions* already given of the geographical 
changes which the British Isles have undergone since the 
commencement of the glacial period (as illustrated by several 
maps, pp. 276-279), it has been shown that there must have 
been a free communication by land between the Continent 
and these islands, and between the several islands themselves, 
within the Post-pliocene epoch, in order to account for the 
Germanic fauna and flora having migrated into every part of 
the area, as well as for the Scandinavian plants and animals 


to have retreated into the higher mountains. During some 
part of the Post-pliocene ages, the large pachyderms and ac 
companying beasts of prey, now extinct, wandered from the 
Continent to England ; but whether the junction of France 
and any part of the British Isles was as late as the period of 
the gravels of St. Acheul, or the era of those engulfed rivers 
which, in the basin of the Meuse, near Liege, swept into many 
a rent and cavern the bones of Man and of the mammoth 
and cave-bear, is still doubtful. There have been vast geo 
graphical revolutions since the times alluded to, and oscilla 
tions of land, during which the English Channel, which can 
be shown b} T the Pagham erratics, and the old Brighton 
beach (p. 280), to be of very ancient origin, may have been 
more than once laid dry and again submerged since it ori 
ginated. During some one of these phases, Man may have 
crossed over, whether by land or in canoes, or even on the 
ice of a frozen sea (as Mr. Prestwich has hinted), for the 
winters of the period of the higher level "gravels of the valley 
of the Somme were intensely cold. 

The primitive people, who coexisted with the elephant and 
rhinoceros in the valley of the Ouse at Bedford, and who 
made use of flint tools of the Amiens type, certainly in 
habited part of England which had already emerged from 
the waters of the glacial sea, and the fabricators of the flint 
tools of Hoxne, in Suffolk, were also, as we have seen, post 
glacial. We may likewise presume, that the people of post- 
pliocene date, who have left their memorials in the valley of 
the Thames, were of corresponding antiquity, posterior to the 
boulder clay, but anterior to the time when the rivers of that 
region had settled into their present channels. 

The vast distance of time which separated the origin of 
the higher and lower level gravels of the valley of the Somme, 
both of them rich in flint implements of similar shape (al 
though those of oval form predominate in the newer gravels), 


leads to the conclusion that the state of the arts in those 
early times remained stationary for almost indefinite periods. 
There may, however, have been different degrees of civi 
lisation, and in the art of fabricating flint tools, of which we 
cannot easily detect the signs in the first age of stone, and 
some contemporary tribes may have been considerably in 
advance of others. Those hunters, for example, who feasted 
on the rhinoceros and buried their dead with funeral rites 
at Aurignac, may have been less barbarous than the savages 
of St. Acheul, as some of their weapons and utensils have 
been thought to imply. To a European who looks down 
from a great eminence on the products of the humble arts 
of the aborigines of all times and countries, the knives and 
arrows of the Red Indian of North America, the hatchets of 
the native Australian, the tools found in the ancient Swiss 
lake-dwellings, or those of the Danish kitchen-middens and 
of St. Acheul, seem nearly all alike in rudeness, and very 
uniform in general character. The slowness of the progress 
of the arts of savage life is manifested by the fact, that the 
earlier instruments of bronze were modelled on the exact plan 
of the stone tools of the preceding age, although such shapes 
would never have been chosen, had metals been known from 
the first. The reluctance or incapacity of savage tribes to 
adopt new inventions, has been shown in the East, by their 
continuing to this day to use the same stone implements as 
their ancestors, after that mighty empires, where the use of 
metals in the arts was well known, had flourished for three 
thousand years in their neighbourhood. 

We see in our own times, that the rate of progress in the 
arts and sciences proceeds in a geometrical ratio as knowledge 
increases, and so, when we carry back our retrospect into the 
past, we must be prepared to find the signs of retardation 
augmenting in a like geometrical ratio ; so that the progress of 
a thousand years at a remote period, may correspond to that of 


a century in modern times, and in ages still more remote 
Man would more and more resemble the brutes in that 
attribute which causes one generation exactly to imitate in 
all its ways the generation which preceded it. 

The extent to which even a considerably advanced state of 
civilisation may become fixed and stereotyped for ages, is the 
wonder of Europeans who travel in the East. One of my 
friends declared to me, that whenever the natives expressed 
to him a wish ' that he might live a thousand years,' the idea 
struck him as by no means extravagant, seeing that if he 
were doomed to sojourn for ever among them, he could only 
hope to exchange in ten centuries as many ideas, and to witness 
as much progress, as he could do at home in half a century. 

It has sometimes happened that one nation has been con 
quered by another less civilised though more warlike, or that, 
during social and political revolutions, people have retrograded 
in knowledge. In such cases, the traditions of earlier ages, or 
of some higher and more educated caste which has been 
destroyed, may give rise to the notion of degeneracy from a 
primeval state of superior intelligence, or of science super- 
naturally communicated. But had the original stock of 
mankind been really endowed with such superior intellectual 
powers, and with inspired knowledge, and had possessed the 
same improvable nature as their posterity, the point of ad 
vancement which they would have reached ere this would 
have been immeasurably higher. We cannot ascertain at 
present the limits, whether of the beginning or the end, of 
the first stone period, when Man coexisted with the extinct 
mammalia, but that it was of great duration we cannot 
doubt. During those ages there would have been time for 
progress of which we can Scarcely form a conception, and 
very different would have been the character of the works of 
art which we should now be endeavouring to interpret, those 
relics which we are now disinterring from the old gravel-pits 


of St. Acheul, or from the Liege caves. In them, or in the 
upraised bed of the Mediterranean, on the south coast of 
Sardinia, instead of the rudest pottery or flint tools, so ir 
regular in form as to cause the unpractised eye to doubt 
whether they afford unmistakable evidence of design, we 
should now be finding sculptured forms, surpassing in beauty 
the master-pieces of Phidias or Praxiteles; lines of buried 
railways or electric telegraphs, from which the best engineers 
of our day might gain invaluable hints ; astronomical instru 
ments and microscopes of more advanced construction than 
any known in Europe, and other indications of perfection in 
the arts and sciences, such as the nineteenth century has not 
yet witnessed. Still farther would the triumphs of inventive 
genius be found to have been carried, when the later deposits, 
now assigned to the ages of bronze and iron, were formed. 
Vainly should we be straining our imaginations to guess 
the possible uses and meaning of such relics machines, per 
haps, for navigating the air or exploring the depths of the 
ocean, or for calculating arithmetical problems, beyond the 
wants or even the conception of living mathematicians. 

The opinion entertained generally by the classical writers 
of Greece and Rome, that Man in the first stage of his ex 
istence was but just removed from the brutes, is faithfully 
expressed by Horace in his celebrated lines, which begin 

Quum prorepserunt primis animalia terris. Sat., lib. i. 3, 99. 

The picture of transmutation given in these verses, however 
severe and contemptuous the strictures lavishly bestowed on 
it by Christian commentators, accords singularly with the 
train of thought which the modern doctrine of progressive 
development has encouraged. 

4 When animals,' he says, ' first crept forth from the newly 
formed earth, a dumb and filthy herd, they fought for acorns 


and lurking-places with their nails and fists, then with clubs, 
and at last with arms, which, taught by experience, they had 
forged. They then invented names for things, and words 
to express their thoughts, after which they began to desist 
from war, to fortify cities, and enact laws.' They who in 
later times have embraced a similar theory, have been led 
to it by no deference to the opinions of their pagan prede 
cessors, but rather in spite of very strong prepossessions in 
favour of an opposite hypothesis, namely, that of the superi 
ority of their original progenitors, of whom they believe 
themselves to be the corrupt and degenerate descendants. 

So far as they are guided by palaeontology, they arrive 
at this result by an independent course of reasoning; but they 
have been conducted partly to the same goal as the ancients, 
by ethnological considerations common to both, or by re 
flecting in what darkness the infancy of every nation is 
enveloped, and that true history and chronology are the 
creation, as it were, of yesterday. Thus the first Olympiad 
is generally regarded as the earliest date on which we can 
rely, in the past annals of mankind, only 772 years before 
the Christian era. 

When we turn from historical records to ancient monu 
ments and inscriptions, none of them seem to claim a higher 
antiquity than about fifteen centuries, B.C. Those now extant 
of Borne, Etruria, Greece, Judaea, and Assyria, carry us back no 
farther into the history of past ages than the temples, obelisks, 
cities, tombs, and pyramids of Egypt, and the exact date of 
these last, after they have been studied with so much patience 
and sagacity for centuries, remains uncertain and obscure. 
Nevertheless, by showing the advanced point which the civili 
sation of mankind had reached in the valley of the Nile, in 
times which were regarded by the Greeks, more than two 
thousand years ago, as lost in the night of ages, we may form 
some estimate of the minimum of time which a people such 

CHAP. xix. AND ITS DATES. 381 

as the Egyptians must have required to emerge slowly from 
primeval barbarism, and reach, long before the first Olympiad, 
so high a degree of power and civilisation. 

Sir Greorge Come wall Lewis, in his recent e Historical Sur 
vey of the Astronomy of the Ancients,' * says, that ' taking 
into consideration all the evidence respecting the buildings 
and great works of Egypt extant in the time of Herodotus, we 
may come to the conclusion that there is no sufficient ground 
for placing them at a date anterior to the building of the 
temple of Solomon, or 1012, B.C.' The same author has 
reminded us that Homer, in the Iliad, speaks of ' Egyptian 
Thebes, with its hundred gates, through each of which two 
hundred chariots went forth to battle,' and that we may form 
an idea of the size which the great poet intended to ascribe to 
Thebes in Egypt, from the fact that Thebes in Bceotia was 
supposed to have only seven gates. Homer is believed to 
have flourished about eight centuries before the Christian 
era. At so early a period, therefore, the magnificence of 
Thebes had attracted the attention of the Greeks. But in 
the opinion of Egyptologists, there were great cities of still 
older date than Thebes ; as, for example, Memphis, which, 
from the names of the kings on the oldest monuments now 
extant there as compared with those in Thebes, is inferred 
to go back to remoter times. As to the speculations of Ari 
stotle, in his 'Meteorics' (1, 14), that Memphis was probably 
the less ancient of the two, because the ground on which it 
stood was nearer the Mediterranean, and would therefore, at 
a later period, be first redeemed from a watery and marshy 
state, this argument, if it were available, would give an 
extremely high antiquity to both cities, seeing the small 
progress which the delta and alluvial deposits of the Nile 
have made in the last two or three thousand years. It is only 

* London, 1862, p. 440. 


in bays like that of Menzaleh, that any great amount of new 
land has been gained, the general advance of the delta being 
checked by a strong current of the Mediterranean, which, 
running from the west, sweeps eastward the sediment brought 
down by the great river, and prevents the land from en 
croaching farther on the sea. The slow subsidence also of 
the land is another cause which checks the advance of the 
delta, and the raising and desiccation of the inland country. 

Aristotle remarks, that as Homer does not mention Mem 
phis, the city either had no existence in the time of the poet, 
or was less considerable than Thebes. 

This observation is no doubt just, so far as regards the com 
parative splendour of the two cities, the one the metropolis 
of Upper and the other of Lower Egypt in former times. 
But it has no bearing whatever on the question of the 
existence of Memphis, for Thebes is only alluded to inciden 
tally as the grandest city known to Homer. Achilles is 
made to exclaim, 'Not though you were to offer me the 
wealth of Egyptian Thebes, with its hundred gates,' &c. &c., 
' would I stir ; ' * and the allusion to Thebes in the Odyssey is 
equally a passing one. f If a work like Strabo's ' Geography,' 
compiled in the days of Homer, had come down to us, and 
Thebes had been fully described without any mention being 
made of Memphis, we might then have inferred the non- 
existence of the latter city at that period. 

Great cities, says Sir Gr. C. Lewis, and temples, and 
pyramids may be erected during a small number of cen 
turies, when despotic monarch s can command the services of 
large armies in peace, and some Oriental monarchs are known 
in historical times to have been possessed with a mania for 
constructing huge edifices to please their own fancies. But 
making every allowance for such occasional displays of 

* Iliad, ix. 381. | Odyssey, iv. 127. 


caprice and magnificence, we cannot contemplate the average 
size and number of the pyramids now extant (upwards of 
forty large and small), to say nothing of the monuments and 
inscriptions, without supposing them to have been the work 
of a long succession of generations. Long before the time of 
Homer, when Thebes had already attained such wealth and 
consequence, an indigenous civilisation must have been 
slowly matured, with its peculiar forms of worship, splendid 
religious ceremonial, the practice of embalming the dead, a 
peculiar style of sculpture and architecture, hieroglyphics, 
and the custom of embanking the great river to prevent the 
sites of towns and cities from being overflowed by the annual 

In the temples are found pictorial representations of 
battles and sieges, processions in which trophies are carried 
and prisoners led captive; and if it be true, as Sir GK C. 
Lewis contends, that throughout the historical period the 
Egyptians were a peaceful and never a conquering people,* 
the wars to which these monuments would then refer must 
be so ancient as to confer on the Egyptians far higher claims 
to antiquity than those advanced by Bunsen and Lepsius. 

Nevertheless, geologically speaking, and in reference to 
the date of the first age of stone, these records of the valley 
of the Nile may be called extremely modern. Wherever 
excavations have been made into the Nile mud underlying 
the foundations of Egyptian cities, as, for example, sixty 
feet below the peristyle of the obelisk of Heliopolis, and 
generally in the alluvial plains of the Nile, the bones met 
with belong to living species of quadrupeds, such as the 
camel, dromedary, dog, ox, and pig, without, as yet, the 
association in any single instance of the teeth or bone of a lost 

In like manner in all the countries bordering the Medi- 

* Lewis, Historical Survey. &c,, p. 351. 


terranean, whether in Algeria, Spain, the south of France, 
Italy, Greece, Asia Minor, Sicily, or the islands of the Medi 
terranean generally, wherever the bones of extinct mammalia, 
such as the elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus, have been 
found, it is not in the modern deltas of rivers or in the 
alluvial plains, now overflowed when the waters are high, 
that such fossil remains present themselves, but in situations 
corresponding to the ancient gravels of the valley of the 
Somme, in which the bones of the mammoth and the oldest 
type of flint implements occur. 

If the Egyptian monarch, therefore, who sent Hanno to 
circumnavigate Africa, or some earlier king than he, had com 
manded his admiral to sail past the Pillars of Hercules, and 
then northwards as far as he could penetrate, leaving, before he 
set out on his return, some monument to commemorate to 
after ages the Ultima Thule of his expedition at the most 
northern point reached by him, and if we had now discovered 
an obelisk of granite left by him at that era on the platform of 
St. Acheul, near Amiens, its foundations might well have 
occupied the precise position which the Grallo-Eoman tombs 
now hold, as shown in fig. 21 a (p. 138). If they had dug 
deep enough to exhume some teeth of the elephant, they 
might easily have seen that they differed from the teeth of their 
African species, and were distinct, like many other accom 
panying bones, from the animals then inhabiting the valley 
of the Somme, or that of the Nile. The flint implements 
would then have lain buried in the old gravel as now, and 
the only geological distinction between those times and ours 
would be a diminished thickness of peat bordering the 
Somme, the upper layers of which would not contain, as 
now, Koman antiquities, and some beds below, in which 
Celtic hatchets now occur, would have been wanting; but, 
with this slight exception, the valley would have worn the 
same aspect as at the era when the Eomans subdued Gaul. 

















TTTHEN speaking in a former work of the distinct races of 
i mankind,* I remarked that, ' if all the leading varie 
ties of the human family sprang originally from a single pair,' 
(a doctrine, to which then, as now, I could see no valid ob 
jection,) c a much greater lapse of time was required for the 
slow and gradual formation of such races as the Caucasian, 
Mongolian, and Negro, than was embraced in any of the 
popular systems of chronology.' 

In confirmation of the high antiquity of two of these, I 
referred to pictures on the walls of ancient temples in Egypt, 
in which, a thousand years or more before the Christian era, 

* Principles of Geology, 7th ed., p. 637, 1847 ; see also 9th ed., p. 660. 

C C 


'the Negro and Caucasian physiognomies were portrayed 
as faithfully, and in as strong contrast, as if the likenesses of 
these races had been taken yesterday.' In relation to the 
same subject, I dwelt on the slight modification which the 
Negro has undergone, after having been transported from 
the tropics, and settled for more than two centuries in the 
temperate climate of Virginia. I therefore concluded that, 
( if the various races were all descended from a single pair, we 
must allow for a vast series of antecedent ages, in the course 
of which the long-continued influence of external circum 
stances gave rise to peculiarities increased in many successive 
generations, and at length fixed by hereditary transmission.' 

So long as physiologists continued to believe that man had 
not existed on the earth above six thousand years, they 
might, with good reason, withhold their assent from the 
doctrine of a unity of origin of so many distinct races ; but 
the difficulty becomes less and less, exactly in proportion as 
we enlarge our ideas of the lapse of time during which dif 
ferent communities may have spread slowly, and become 
isolated, each exposed for ages to a peculiar set of conditions, 
whether of temperature, or food, or danger, or ways of living. 
The law of the geometrical rate of the increase of population 
which causes it alwa , s to press hard on the means of subsist 
ence, would ensure the migration, in various directions, of off 
shoots from the society first formed abandoning the area where 
they had multiplied. But when they had gradually penetrated 
to remote regions by land or water, drifted sometimes by 
storms and currents in canoes to an unknown shore, barriers 
of mountains, deserts, or seas, which oppose no obstacle to 
mutual intercourse between civilised nations, would ensure the 
complete isolation for tens or thousands of centuries of tribes 
in a primitive state of barbarism. 

Some modern ethnologists, in accordance with the philoso 
phers of antiquity, have assumed that men at first fed on the 


fruits of the earth, before even a stone implement or the 
simplest form of canoe had been invented. They may, it is 
said, have begun their career in some fertile island in the 
tropics, where the warmth of the air was such, that no 
clothing was needed, and where there were no wild beasts to 
endanger their safety. But as soon as their numbers in 
creased, they would be forced to migrate into regions less 
secure and blest with a less genial climate. Contests would 
soon arise for the possession of the most fertile lands, where 
game or pasture abounded, and their energies and inventive 
powers would be called forth, so that, at length, they would 
make progress in the arts. 

But as ethnologists have failed, as yet, to trace back the 
history of any one race to the area where it originated, some 
zoologists of eminence have declared their belief, that the 
different races, whether they be three, five, twenty, or a much 
greater number, (for on this point there is an endless diver 
sity of opinion,*) have all been primordial creations, having 
from the first been stamped with the characteristic features, 
mental and bodily, by which they are now distinguished, 
except where intermarriage has given rise to mixed or hy 
brid races. Were we to admit, say they, a unity of origin of 
such strongly marked varieties as the Negro and European, 
differing as they do in colour and bodily constitution, each 
fitted for distinct climates, and exhibiting some marked 
peculiarities in their osteological, and even, in some details 
of cranial and cerebral conformation, as well as in their 
average intellectual endowments (see above, p. 91), if, in 
spite of the fact that all these attributes have been faithfully 
handed down unaltered for hundreds of generations, we 
are to believe that, in the course of time, they have all 
diverged from one common stock, how shall we resist the 

* See Transactions of Ethnological Society, vol. i. 1861. 
C c 2 


arguments of the transmutationist, who contends that all 
closely allied species of animals and plants have in like 
manner sprung from a common parentage, albeit that for 
the last three or four thousand years they may have been 
persistent in character ? Where are we to stop, unless we 
make our stand at once on the independent creation of those 
distinct human races, the history of which is better known 
to us than that of any of the inferior animals ? 

So long as Geology had not lifted up a part of the veil 
which formerly concealed from the naturalist the history of 
the changes which the animate creation had undergone in 
times immediately antecedent to the Recent period, it was 
easy to treat these questions as too transcendental, or as 
lying too far beyond the domain* of positive science to 
require serious discussion. But it is no longer possible to 
restrain curiosity from attempting to pry into the relations 
which connect the present state of the animal and vegetable 
worlds, as well as of the various races of mankind, with the 
state of the fauna and flora which immediately preceded. 

In the very outset of the enquiry, we are met with the 
difficulty of defining what we mean by the terms ' species ' and 
e race ; ' and the surprise of the unlearned is usually great, 
when they discover how wide is the difference of opinion now 
prevailing as to the significance of words in such familiar 
use. But, in truth, we can come to no agreement as to such 
definitions, unless we have previously made up our minds on 
some of the most momentous of all the enigmas with which 
the human intellect ever attempted to grapple. 

It is now thirty years since I gave an analysis in the first 
edition of my 'Principles of Greology ' (vol. ii. 1832) of the 
views which had been put forth by Lamarck, in the be 
ginning of the century, on this subject. In that interval 
the progress made in zoology and botany, both in aug 
menting the number of known animals and plants, and in 


studying their physiology and geographical distribution, and, 
above all, in examining and describing fossil species, is so 
vast, that the additions made to our knowledge probably 
exceed all that was previously known ; and what Lamarck then 
foretold has come to pass; the more new forms have been 
multiplied, the less are we able to decide what we mean by a 
variety, and what by a species. In fact, zoologists and 
botanists are not only more at a loss than ever how to 
define a species, but even to determine whether it has any 
real existence in nature, or is a mere abstraction of the 
human intellect, some contending that it is constant within 
certain narrow and impassable limits of variability, others 
that it is capable of indefinite and endless modification. 

Before I attempt to explain a great step, which has 
recently been made by Mr. Darwin and his fellow-labourers 
in this field of enquiry, I think it useful to recapitulate in 
this place some of the leading features of Lamarck's system, 
without attempting to adjust the claims of some of his con 
temporaries (GreofFroy St. Hilaire in particular) to share in 
the credit of some of his original speculations. 

From the time of Linnaeus to the commencement of the 
present century, it seemed a sufficient definition of the term 
species to say, that c a species consisted of individuals all 
resembling each other, and reproducing their like by genera 
tion.' But Lamarck, after having first studied botany with 
success, had then turned his attention to conchology, and soon 
became aware that in the newer (or tertiary) strata of the 
earth's crust there were a multitude of fossil species of shells, 
some of them identical with living ones, others simply 
varieties of the living, and which, as such, were entitled to 
be designated, according to the ordinary rules of classifica 
tion, by the same names. He also observed that other shells 
were so nearly allied to living forms, that it was difficult not 
to suspect that they had been connected by a common bond 


of descent. He therefore proposed that the element of 
time should enter into the definition of a species, and that it 
should run thus : ' A species consists of individuals all re 
sembling each other, and reproducing their like by genera 
tion, so long as the surrounding conditions do not undergo 
changes sufficient to cause their habits, characters, and forms 
to vary? He came at last to the conclusion, that none of the 
animals and plants now existing were primordial creations, 
but were all derived from pre-existing forms, which,' after 
they may have gone on for indefinite ages reproducing their 
like, had, at length, by the influence of alterations in climate 
and in the animate world, been made to vary gradually, 
and adapt themselves to new circumstances, some of them 
deviating, in the course of ages, so far from their original 
type as to have claims to be regarded as new species. 

In support of these views, he referred to wild and culti 
vated plants, and to wild and domesticated animals, pointing 
out how their colour, form, structure, physiological attri 
butes, and even instincts, were gradually modified by expo 
sure to new soils and climates, new enemies, modes of 
subsistence, arid kinds of food. 

Nor did he omit to notice that the newly acquired peculi 
arities may be inherited by the offspring for an indefinite series 
of generations, whether they be brought about naturally, as 
when a species, on the extreme verge of its geographical range, 
comes into competition with new antagonists, and is subjected 
to new physical conditions; or artificially, as when, by the 
act of the breeder or horticulturist, peculiar varieties of form 
or disposition are selected. 

But Lamarck taught not only that species had been con 
stantly undergoing changes from one geological period to 
another, but that there also had been a progressive advance 
of the organic world from the earliest to the latest times, from 
beings of the simplest to those of more and more complex struc- 


ture, and from the lowest instincts up to the highest, and, 
finally, from brute intelligence to the reasoning powers of Man. 
The improvement in the grade of being had been slow and 
continuous, and the human race itself was at length evolved 
out of the most highly organised and endowed of the inferior 

In order to explain how, after an indefinite lapse of ages, so 
many of the lowest grades, of animal or plant, still abounded, 
he imagined that the germs or rudiments of living things, 
which he called monads, were continually coming into the 
world, and that there were different kinds of these monads for 
each primary division of the animal and vegetable kingdoms. 
This last hypothesis does not seem essentially different from 
the old doctrine of equivocal or spontaneous generation ; it 
is wholly unsupported by any modern experiments or observa 
tion, and therefore affords us no aid whatever in speculating 
on the commencement of vital phenomena on the earth. 

Some of the laws which govern the appearance of new 
varieties were clearly pointed out by Lamarck. He re 
marked, for example, that as the muscles of the arm become 
strengthened by exercise or enfeebled by disuse, some organs 
may in this way, in the course of time, become entirely 
obsolete, and others previously weak become strong and 
play a new or more leading part in the organisation of a 
species. And so with instincts, where animals experience new 
dangers they become more cautious and cunning, and trans 
mit these acquired faculties to their posterity. But not 
satisfied with such legitimate speculations, the French 
philosopher conceived that by repeated acts of volition 
animals might acquire new organs and attributes, and that 
in plants, which could not exert -a will of their own, certain 
subtle fluids or organising forces might operate so as to 
work out analogous effects. 

After commenting on these purely imaginary causes, I 


pointed out in 1832, as the two great flaws in Lamarck's 
attempt to explain the origin of species, first, that he had 
failed to adduce a single instance of the initiation of a new 
organ in any species of animal or plant ; and secondly, that 
variation, whether taking place in the course of nature or 
assisted artificially by the breeder and horticulturist, had 
never yet gone so far as to produce two races sufficiently 
remote from each other in physiological constitution as to be 
sterile when intermarried, or, if fertile, only capable of pro 
ducing sterile hybrids, &c.* 

To this objection Lamarck would, no doubt, have answered 
that there had not been time for bringing about so great an 
amount of variation ; for when Cuvier and some other of his 
contemporaries appealed to the embalmed animals and plants 
taken from Egyptian tombs, some of them 3,000 years old, 
which had not experienced in that long period the slightest 
modification in their specific characters, he replied that the 
climate and soil of the valley of the Nile had not varied in the 
interval, and that there was therefore no reason for expecting 
that we should be able to detect any change in the fauna and 
flora. ' But if,' he went on to say, ' the physical geography, 
temperature, and other conditions of life, had been altered in 
Egypt as much as we know from geology has happened in 
other regions, some of the same animals and plants would 
have deviated so far from their pristine types as to be 
thought entitled to take rank as new and distinct species.' 

Although I cited this answer of Lamarck, in my account 
of his theory,f I did not, at the time, fully appreciate the 
deep conviction which it displays of the slow manner in 
which geological changes have taken place, and the insigni 
ficance of thirty or forty centuries in the history of a species, 
and that, too, at a period when very narrow views were 

* Principles of Geology, 1st ed., vol. ii. ch. ii. 
f Ibid., p. 587. 1832. 


entertained of the extent of past time by most of the ablest 
geologists, and when great revolutions of the earth's crust, 
and its inhabitants, were generally attributed to sudden and 
violent catastrophes. 

While, in 1832, 1 argued against Lamarck's doctrine of the 
gradual transmutation of one species into another, I agreed 
with him in believing that the system of changes now in 
progress in the organic world would afford, when fully 
understood, a complete key to the interpretation of all the 
vicissitudes of the living creation in past ages. I contended 
against the doctrine, then very popular, of the sudden destruc 
tion of vast multitudes of species, and the abrupt ushering 
into the world of new batches of plants and animals. 

I endeavoured to sketch out (and it was, I believe, the first 
systematic attempt to accomplish such a task) the laws 
which govern the extinction of species, with a view of show 
ing that the slow, but ceaseless variations, now in progress 
in physical geography, together with the migration of plants 
and animals into new regions, must, in the course of ages, 
give rise to the occasional loss of some of them, and eventually 
cause an entire fauna and flora to die out ; also, that we must 
infer, from geological data, that the places thus left vacant 
from time to time, are filled up without delay by new forms, 
adapted to new conditions, sometimes by immigration from 
adjoining provinces, sometimes by new creations. Among 
the many causes of extinction enumerated by me, were the 
power of hostile species, diminution of food, mutations in 
climate, the conversion of land into sea, and of sea into land, 
&c. I firmly opposed Brocchi's hypothesis, of a decline in 
the vital energy of each species;* maintaining that there 
was every reason to believe that the reproductive powers of 
the last surviving representatives of a species were as 

* Principles of Geology, 1st ed. ch. viii. vol. ii. ; and 9th ed. p. 668. 


vigorous as those of their predecessors, and that they were as 
capable, under favourable circumstances, of repeopling the 
earth with their kind. The manner in which some species 
are now becoming scarce and dying out, one after the other, 
appeared to me to favour the doctrine of the fixity of the 
specific character, showing a want of pliancy and capability 
of varying, which ensured their annihilation whenever changes 
adverse to their well-being occurred ; time not being allowed 
for such a transformation as might be conceived capable of 
adapting them to the new circumstances, and of converting 
them into what naturalists would call, new species.* 

But while rejecting transmutation, I was equally opposed 
to the popular theory that the creative power had diminished 
in energy, or that it had been in abeyance ever since man had 
entered upon the scene. That a renovating force, which had 
been in full operation for millions of years, should cease to 
act while the causes of extinction were still in full activity, or 
even intensified by the accession of man's destroying power, 
seemed to me in the highest degree improbable. The only 
point on which I doubted was, whether the force might not 
be intermittent instead of being, as Lamarck supposed, in 
ceaseless operation. Might not the births of new species, like 
the deaths of old ones, be sudden ? Might they not still es 
cape our observation ? If the coming in of one new species, 
and the loss of one other which had endured for ages, should 
take place annually, still, assuming that there are a million 
of animals and plants living on the globe, it would require, 
I observed, a million of years to bring about a complete 
revolution in the fauna and flora. In that case, I imagined 
that, although the first appearance of a new form might be as 
abrupt as the disappearance of an old one, yet naturalists 
might never yet have witnessed the first entrance on the stage 

* Laws of Extinction, Principles chap. v. to xi. inclusive ; and 9th ed. 
of Geology, 1st ed. 1832, vol. ii. ch. xxxvii. to xlii. inclusive. 1853. 


of a large and conspicuous animal or plant, and as to the 
smaller kinds, many of them may be conceived to have stolen 
in unseen, and to have spread gradually over a wide area, like 
species migrating into new provinces.* 

It may now be useful to offer some remarks on the very 
different reception which the twin branches of Lamarck's 
development theory, namely, progression and transmutation, 
have met with, and to enquire into the causes of the popu 
larity of the one, and the great unpopularity of the other. 
We usually test the value of a scientific hypothesis by the 
number and variety of the phenomena of which it offers a 
fair or plausible explanation. If transmutation, when thus 
tested, has decidedly the advantage over progression, and yet 
is comparatively in disfavour, we may reasonably suspect that 
its reception is retarded, not so much by its own inherent de 
merits, as by some apprehended consequences which it is 
supposed to involve, and which run counter to our precon 
ceived opinions. 

Theory of Progression. 

In treating of this question, I shall begin with the doctrine 
of progression, a concise statement of which, so far as it relates 
to the animal kingdom, was thus given twelve years ago by 
Professor Sedgwick, in the preface to his Discourse on the 
Studies of the University of Cambridge. 

( There are traces,' he says, 'among the old deposits of the 
earth of an organic progression amdng the successive forms of 
life. They are to be seen in the absence of mammalia in the 
older, and their very rare appearance in the newer secondary 
groups; in the diffusion of warm-blooded quadrupeds (fre 
quently of unknown genera) in the older tertiary system, 
and in their great abundance (and frequently of known 

* Principles of Geology, 1st ed. 1832, vol. ii. ch. xi. ; and 9th ed. p. 706. 


genera) in the upper portions of the same series ; and lastly, 
in the recent appearance of Man on the surface of the earth.' 

6 This historical development,' continues the same author, 
6 of the forms and functions of organic life during successive 
epochs, seems to mark a gradual evolution of creative power, 
manifested by a gradual ascent towards a higher type of being.' 
4 But the elevation of the fauna of successive periods was not 
made by transmutation, but by creative additions ; and it is 
by watching these additions that we get some insight into 
Nature's true historical progress, and learn that there was a 
time when Cephalopoda were the highest types of animal life, 
the primates of this world ; that Fishes next took the lead, 
then Eeptiles; and that during the secondary period they were 
anatomically raised far above any forms of the reptile class 
now living in the world. Mammals were added next, until 
Nature became what she now is, by the addition of Man.' * 

Although in the half century which has elapsed between the 
time of Lamarck and the publication of the above summary, 
new discoveries have caused geologists to assign a higher an 
tiquity both to Man and the oldest fossil mammalia, fish, and 
reptiles than formerly, yet the generalisation, as laid down 
by the Woodwardian Professor, still holds good in all essential 

The progressive theory was propounded in the following 
terms by the late Hugh Miller in his ' Footprints of the 

( It is of itself an extraordinary fact without reference to 
other considerations, that the order adopted by Cuvier in his 
" Animal Kingdom," as that in which the four great classes of 
vertebrate animals, when marshalled according to their rank 
and standing, naturally range, should be also that in which 
they occur in order of time. The brain, which bears an 

* Professor Sedgwick's Discourse Cambridge, Preface to 5th ed. pp. xliv. 
on the Studies of the University of cliv. ecxvi. 1850. 


average proportion to the spinal cord of not more than t\fo 
to one, comes first, it is the brain of the fish ; that which 
bears to the spinal cord an average proportion of two-and-a- 
half to one succeeded it, it is the brain of the reptile ; then 
came the brain averaging as three to one, it is that of the 
bird. Next in succession came the brain that averages as 
four to one, it is that of the animal ; and last of all there 
appeared a brain that averages as twenty-three to one, 
reasoning, calculating Man had come upon the scene.'* 

M. Agassiz, in his Essay on Classification, has devoted a 
chapter to the * Parallelism between the Geological Succession 
of Animals and Plants and their present relative Standing ; ' 
in which he has expressed a decided opinion that, within the 
limits of the orders of each great class, there is a coincidence 
between their relative rank in organisation and the order 
of succession of their representatives in time.f 

Professor Owen, in his Palaeontology, has advanced similar 
views, and has remarked, in regard to the vertebrata, that there 
is much positive as well as negative evidence in support of 
the doctrine of an advance in the scale of being, from ancient 
to more modern geological periods. We observe, for example, 
in the triassic, oolitic, and cretaceous strata, not only an 
absence of placental mammalia, but the presence of in 
numerable reptiles, some of large size, terrestrial and aquatic, 
herbivorous and prsedaceous, fitted to perform the functions 
now discharged by the mammalia. 

The late Professor Bronn, of Heidelberg, after passing in 
review more than 24,000 fossil animals and plants, which he 
had classified and referred each to their geological position 
in his ( Index Palseontologicus,' came to the conclusion that, 
in the course of time, there had been introduced into the 

* Footprints of the Creator, p. 283. tory of United States, Part I. Essay 
Edinburgh, 1849. on Classification, p. 108. 

f Contributions to Natural His- 


earth more and more highly organised types of animal and 
vegetable life ; the modern species being, on the whole, more 
specialised, i.e., having separate organs, or parts of the body, 
to perform different functions, which, in the earlier periods 
and in beings of simpler structure, were discharged in com 
mon by a single part or organ. 

Professor Adolphe Brongniart, in an essay published in 
1849, on the botanical classification and geological distribu 
tion of the genera of fossil plants,* arrives at similar results 
as to the progress of the vegetable world from the earliest 
periods to the present. He does not pretend to trace an 
exact historical series from the sea-weed to the fern, or from 
the fern again to the conifers and cycads, and lastly, from those 
families to the palms and oaks, but he, nevertheless, points 
out that the cryptogamic forms, especially the acrogens, pre 
dominate among the fossils of the primary formations, the 
carboniferous especially, while the gymnosperms or coniferous 
and cycadeous plants abound in all the strata, from the Trias 
to the Wealden inclusive ; and lastly, the more highly deve 
loped angiosperms, both monocotyledonous and dicotyledo 
nous, do not become abundant until the tertiary period. It 
is a remarkable fact, as he justly observes, that the exogens, 
which comprise four-fifths of living plants, a division to which 
all our native European trees, except the Conifers, belong, 
and which embrace all the Composite, LeguminosaB, Um- 
belliferas, Cruciferaa, Heaths, and so many other families, are 
wholly unrepresented by any fossils hitherto discovered in the 
primary and .secondary formations from the Silurian to the 
oolitic inclusive. It is not till we arrive at the cretaceous 
period that they begin to appear, sparingly at first, and only 
playing a conspicuous part, together with the palms and other 
endogens, in the tertiary epoch. 

* Tableau des Genres de Vegetaux fossiles, &c. Dictionnaire Universel 
d'Histoire Naturelle. Paris, 1849. 


When commenting on the eagerness with which the doc 
trine of progression was embraced from the close of the last 
century to the time when I first attempted, in 1830, to give 
some account of the prevailing theories in geology, I observed, 
that far too much reliance was commonly placed on the received 
dates of the first appearances of certain orders or classes of 
animals or plants, such dates being determined by the age of 
the stratum in which we then happened to have discovered 
the earliest memorials of such types. At that time (1830), 
it was taken for granted that Man had not coexisted with the 
mammoth and other extinct mammalia, yet now that we 
have traced back the signs of his existence to the Post-pliocene 
era, and may anticipate the finding of his remains on some 
future day in the Pliocene period, the theory of progression 
is not shaken ; for we cannot expect to meet with human 
bones in the Miocene formations, where all the species and 
nearly all the genera of mammalia belong to types widely 
differing from those now living ; and had some other rational 
being, representing man, then flourished, some signs of his 
existence could hardly have escaped unnoticed, in the shape 
of implements of stone or metal, more frequent and more 
durable than the osseous remains of any of the mammalia. 

In the beginning of this century it was one of the 
canons of the popular geological creed, that the first warm 
blooded quadrupeds which had inhabited this planet were 
those derived from the Eocene gypsum of Montmartre in the 
suburbs of Paris, almost all of which Cuvier had shown to 
belong to extinct genera. This dogma continued in force for 
more than a quarter of a century, in spite of the discovery in 
1818 of a marsupial quadruped in the Stonesfield strata, a 
member of the lower oolite, near Oxford. Some disputed the 
authority of Cuvier himself, as to the mammalian character of 
the fossil ; others, the accuracy of those who had assigned to it 
so ancient a place in the chronological series of rocks. In 


1832 I pointed out that the occurrence of this single fossil in 
the oolite was ( fatal to the theory of successive development,' 
as then propounded.* Since that period great additions have 
been made to our knowledge of the existence of land quad 
rupeds in the olden times. We have ascertained that, in 
Eocene strata older than the gypsum of Paris, no less than 
four distinct sets of placental mammalia have flourished; 
namely, first, those of the Headon series in the Isle of Wight, 
from which fourteen species have been procured ; secondly, 
those of the antecedent Bagshot and Bracklesham beds, which 
have yielded, together with the contemporaneous ' calcaire 
grossier ' of Paris, twenty species ; thirdly, the still older beds 
of Kyson, near Ipswich, and those of Herne Bay, at the mouth 
of the Thames, in which seven species have been found ; and 
fourthly, the plastic clay or lignite formation, which has sup 
plied ten species.| 

We can scarcely doubt that we should already have traced 
back the evidence of this class of fossils much farther had not 
our enquiries been arrested, first, by the vast gap between 
the tertiary and secondary formations, and then by the 
marine nature of the cretaceous rocks. 

The mammalia next in antiquity, of which we have any 
cognisance, are those of the upper oolite of Purbeck, dis 
covered between the years 1854 and 1857, and comprising 
no less than fourteen species, referable to eight or nine 
genera ; one of them, Plagiaulax, considered by Dr. Falconer 
to have been a herbivorous marsupial. The whole assem 
blage appear, from the joint observations of Professor Owen 
and Dr. Falconer, to indicate a low grade of quadruped, pro 
bably of the marsupial type. They were, for the most part, 
diminutive, the two largest not much exceeding our common 
hedgehog and polecat in size. 

* Principles of Geology, 2nd ed. f Lyell's Supplement to 5th ed. of 

i. 173. Elements. 1857. 

CHAP. xx. OF LOW GRADE. 401 

Next anterior in age are the mammalia of the Lower Oolite 
of Stonesfield, of which four species are known, also very 
small, and probably marsupial, with one exception, the 
Stereognathus ooliticus, which, according to Professor Owen's 
conjecture, may have been a hoofed quadruped and pla- 
cental, though, as we have only half of the lower jaw with 
teeth, and the molars are unlike any living type, such an 
opinion is, of course, hazarded with due caution. 

Still older than the above are some fossil quadrupeds of 
small size, found in the Upper Trias of Stuttgart in Ger 
many, and more lately by Mr. C. Moore in beds of corre 
sponding age near Bristol, which are also of a very low grade, 
like the living myrmecobius of Australia. Beyond this limit 
our knowledge of the highest class of vertebrata does not as yet 
extend into the past, but the frequent shifting back of the old 
land- marks, nearly all of them once supposed in their turn to 
indicate the date of the first appearance of warm-blooded 
quadrupeds on this planet, should serve as a warning to us 
not to consider the goal at present reached by palaeontology 
as one beyond which they who come after us are never 
destined to pass. 

On the other hand, it may be truly said, in favour of pro 
gression, that, after all these discoveries, the doctrine is not 
gainsaid, for the less advanced marsupials precede the more 
perfect placenta! mammalia in the order of their appear 
ance on the earth. 

If the three localities where the most ancient mammalia 
have been found, Purbeck, Stonesfield, and Stuttgart had 
belonged all of them to formations of the same age, we 
might well have imagined so limited an area to have been 
peopled exclusively with pouched quadrupeds, just as Aus 
tralia now is ; while other parts of the globe were inhabited 
by placentals, for Australia now supports one hundred and 
sixty species of marsupials, while the rest of the continents 

D D 


and islands are tenanted by about seventeen hundred species 
of mammalia, of which only forty-six are marsupial, namely, 
the opossums of North and South America. But the great 
difference of age of the strata in each of these three localities 
seems to indicate the predominance throughout a vast lapse 
of time, (from the era of the Upper Trias to that of the 
Purbeck beds,) of a low grade of quadrupeds ; and this per 
sistency of similar generic and ordinal types in Europe while 
the species were changing, and while the fish, reptiles, and 
mollusca were undergoing vast modifications, raises a strong 
presumption that there was also a vast extension in space of 
the same marsupial forms during that portion of the secondary 
epoch which has been termed c the age of reptiles.' 

As to the class Eeptilia, some of the orders which pre 
vailed when the secondary rocks were formed are confessedly 
much higher in their organisation than any of the same 
class now living. If the less perfect ophidians, or snakes, 
which now abound on the earth had taken the lead in those 
ancient days among the land reptiles, and the Deinosaurians 
had been contemporary with Man, there can be no doubt 
that the progressionist would have seized upon this fact with 
unfeigned satisfaction as confirmatory of his views. Now 
that the order of succession is precisely reversed, and that 
the age of' the Iguanodon was long anterior to that of the 
Eocene palseophis and living boa, while the crocodile is in 
our own times the highest representative of its class, a retro 
grade movement in this important division of the vertebrata 
must be admitted. It may perhaps be accounted for by the 
power acquired by the placental mammalia, when they 
became dominant, a power before which the class of verte 
brata next below them, as coming most directly in com 
petition with them, may, more than any other, have given 

For no less than thirty-four years it had been a received 


axiom in palaeontology, that reptiles had never existed before 
the Permian or Magnesian limestone period, when at length, 
in 1844, this supposed barrier was thrown down, and carbo 
niferous reptiles, terrestrial and aquatic, of several genera, 
were brought to light ; and discussions are now going on as to 
whether some remains of an enaliosaur have not been detected 
in the coal of Nova Scotia, and whether certain sandstones, 
near Elgin in Scotland, containing the bones of lacertian, 
crocodilian, and rhyncosaurian reptiles, may not be referable 
to the ' Old Eed ' or Devonian group. 

Still, no traces of this class have yet been detected in 
rocks as ancient as those in which the oldest fish have been 

As to fossil representatives of the ichthyic type, the most 
ancient were not supposed, before 1838, to be of a date 
anterior to the Coal, but they have since been traced 
back, first to the Devonian, and then to the Upper Silurian 
rocks. No remains, however, of them or of any vertebrate 
animal have yet "been discovered in the Lower Silurian strata, 
rich as these are in invertebrate fossils, nor in the still older 
primordial zone of Barrande ; so that we seem authorised to 
conclude, though not without considerable reserve, that the 
vertebrate type was extremely scarce, if not wholly wanting, 
in those epochs often spoken of as ( primitive,' but which, if 
the Development Theory be true, were probably the last 
of a long series of antecedent ages in which living beings 

As to the Mollusca, which afford the most unbroken series of 
geological medals, the highest of that class, the cephalopoda, 
abounded in older Silurian times, comprising several hundred 
species of chambered univalves. Had there been strong pre 
possessions against the progressive theory, it would probably 
have been argued that when these cephalopods abounded, and 
the siphonated gasteropods were absent, a higher order of 

D D 2 


zoophagous mollusca discharged the functions afterwards per 
formed by an inferior order in the secondary, tertiary, and post- 
tertiary seas. But I have never seen this view suggested as 
adverse to the doctrine of progress, although much stress has 
been laid on the fact, that the Silurian brachiopoda, creatures 
of a lower grade, formerly discharged the functions of the exist 
ing lamellibranchiate bivalves, which are higher in the scale. 

It is said truly that the ammonite, orthoceras, and nautilus 
of these ancient rocks were of the tetrabranchiate division, 
and none of them so highly organised as the belemnite and 
other dibranchiate cephalopods which afterwards appeared, 
and some of which now flourish in our seas. Therefore, we 
may infer that the simplest forms of the cephalopoda took 
precedence of the more complex in time. But if wo embrace 
this view, we must not forget that there are living cephalo 
poda, such as the octopods, which are devoid of any hard 
parts, whether external or internal, and which .eould leave 
behind them no fossil memorials of their .existence ; so that 
we must make a somewhat arbitrary assumption, namely, 
that at a remote era, no such dibranchiata were in being, in 
order to avail ourselves of this argument in favour of pro 
gression. On the other hand, it is true that .in the ' primordial 
zone ' of Barrande not even the shell -bearing tetrabranchiates 
have yet been discovered. 

In regard to plants, although the generalisation, above 
cited, of M. Adolphe Brongniart (p. 398) is probably true, 
there has been a tendency in the advocates of progression to 
push the inferences deducible from known facts, in support of 
their favourite dogma, somewhat beyond the limits which the 
evidence justifies. Dr. Hooker observes, in his recent intro 
ductory essay on the flora of Australia, that it is impossible to 
establish a parallel between the successive appearances of 
vegetable forms in time, and -their complexity of structure or 
specialisation of organs as represented by the successively 


higher groups in the natural method of classification. He 
also adds that the earliest recognisable cryptogams are not 
only the highest now existing, but have more highly diffe 
rentiated vegetative organs than any subsequently appearing, 
and that the dicotyledonous embryo and perfect exogenous 
wood, with the highest specialised tissue known (the coniferous 
with glandular tissue),, preceded the monocotyledonous em 
bryo and endogenous wood in date of appearance on the 
globe facts wholly opposed to the doctrine of progression, 
and which can only be set aside on the supposition that they 
are fragmentary evidence of a kind farther removed from the 
origin of vegetation than from the present day.* 

It would be an easy task to- multiply objections to the 
theory now under consideration ; but from this I refrain, as I 
regard it not only as a useful r but rather, in the present state 
of science, as an indispensable hypothesis, and one which, 
though destined hereafter to undergo many and great modifi 
cations, will never be overthrown. 

It may be thought almost paradoxical that writers who are 
most in favour of transmutation (Mr. C. Darwin and Dr. J. 
Hooker, for example) are nevertheless among those who are 
most cautious, and one would say timid, in their mode of es 
pousing the doctrine of progression ; while, on the other hand, 
the most zealous advocates of progression are oftener than 
not very vehement opponents of transmutation. We might 
have anticipated a contrary leaning on the part of both, for 
to what does the theory of progression point ? It supposes 
a gradual elevation in grade of the vertebrate type, in the 
course of ages, from the most simple ichthyic form to that 
of the placental mammalia and the coming upon the stage 
last in the order of time of the most anthropomorphous 
mammalia, followed by the human race this last thus ap- 

* Flora of Australia, Introductory Essay, p. xxi. London, 1859. Published 


pearing as an integral part of the same continuous series of 
acts of development, one link in the same chain, the crowning- 
operation as it were of one and the same series of manifesta 
tions of creative power. If the dangers apprehended from 
transmutation arise from the too intimate connection which 
it tends to establish between the human and merely animal 
natures, it might have been expected that the progressive 
development of organisation, instinct, and intelligence might 
have been unpopular, as likely to pioneer the way for the re 
ception of the less favoured doctrine. But the true explana 
tion of the seeming anomaly is this, that no one can believe 
in transmutation who is not profoundly convinced that all 
we know in paleontology is as nothing compared to what we 
have yet to learn, and they who regard the record as so 
fragmentary, and our acquaintance with the fragments which 
are extant as so rudimentary, are apt to be astounded at 
the confidence placed by the progressionists in data which 
must be defective in the extreme. But exactly in propor 
tion as the completeness of the record and our knowledge of 
it are overrated, in that same degree are many progressionists 
unconscious of the goal towards which they are drifting. 
Their faith in the fullness of the annals leads them to 
regard all breaks in the series of organic existence, or in 
the sequence of the fossiliferous rocks, as proofs of original 
chasms and leaps in the course of nature, signs of the inter 
mittent action of the creational force, or of catastrophes which 
devastated the habitable surface ; and they are therefore fear 
less of discovering any continuity of plan (except that which 
must have existed in the Divine mind) which would imply a 
material connection between the outgoing organisms and the 
incoming ones. 














FOR many years after the promulgation of Lamarck's doc 
trine of progressive development, geologists were much 
occupied with the question whether the past changes in the 
animate and inanimate world were brought about by sudden 
and paroxysmal action, or gradually and continuously, by 
causes differing neither in kind nor degree from those now in 

The anonymous author of ( The Vestiges of Creation ' pub 
lished in 1844 a treatise, written in a clear and attractive 
style, which made the English public familiar with the lead 
ing views of Lamarck on transmutation and progression, but 
brought no new facts or original line of argument to sup- 


port those views, or to combat the principal objections which 
the scientific world entertained against them. 

No decided step in this direction was made until the pub 
lication in 1858 of two papers, one by Mr. Darwin and 
another by Mr. Wallace, followed in 1859 by Mr. Darwin's 
celebrated work on ' The Origin of Species by Means of 
Natural Selection ; or, the Preservation of favoured Eaces in 
the Struggle for Life.' The author of this treatise had for 
twenty previous years strongly inclined to believe that varia 
tion and the ordinary laws of reproduction were among the 
secondary causes always employed by the Author of nature, in 
the introduction from time to time of new species into the 
world, and he had devoted himself patiently to the collecting 
of facts, and making of experiments in zoology and botany, 
with a view of testing the soundness of the theory of trans 
mutation. Part of the MS. of his projected work was read 
to Dr. Hooker as early as 1844, and some of the principal 
results were communicated to me on several occasions. 
Dr. Hooker and I had repeatedly urged him to publish 
without delay, but in vain, as he was always unwilling to 
interrupt the course of his investigations; until at length 
Mr. Alfred E. Wallace, who had been engaged for years in 
collecting and studying the animals of the East Indian 
archipelago, thought out, independently for himself, one of 
the most novel and important of Mr. Darwin's theories. 
This he embodied in an essay f On the Tendency of Varieties 
to depart indefinitely from the original Type.' It was written 
at Ternate, in February 1858, and sent to Mr. Darwin/ with a 
request that it might be shown to me if thought sufficiently 
novel and interesting. Dr. Hooker and I were of opinion that 
it should be immediately printed, and we succeeded in per 
suading Mr. Darwin to allow one of the MS. chapters of his 
' Origin of Species,' entitled ( On the Tendency of Species 
to form Varieties, and on the Perpetuation of Species and 


Varieties by natural Means of Selection,' to appear at the 
same time.* 

By reference to these memoirs it will be seen that both 
writers begin by applying to the animal and vegetable worlds 
the Malthusian doctrine of population, or its tendency to in 
crease in a geometrical ratio, while food can only be made to 
augment even locally in an arithmetical one. There being, 
therefore, no room or means of subsistence for a large pro 
portion of the plants and animals which are born into the 
world, a great number must annually perish. Hence there 
is a constant struggle for existence among the individuals 
which represent each species, and the vast majority can 
never reach the adult state, to say nothing of the multitudes 
of ova and seeds, which are never hatched or allowed to 
germinate. Of birds it is estimated that the number of 
those which die every year equals the aggregate number by 
which the species to which they respectively belong is on the 
average permanently represented. 

The trial of strength, which must decide what individuals 
are to survive and what to succumb, occurs in the season 
when the means of subsistence are fewest, or enemies most 
numerous, or when the individuals are enfeebled by climate 
or other causes; and it is then that those varieties which 
have any, even the slightest, advantage over others come off 
victorious. They may often owe their safety to what would 
seem to a casual observer a trifling difference, such as a darker 
or lighter shade of colour rendering them less visible to a 
species which preys upon them, or sometimes to attributes 
more obviously advantageous, such as greater cunning, or 
superior powers of flight or swiftness of foot. These peculiar 
qualities and faculties, bodily and instinctive, may enable them 
to outlive their less favoured rivals, and being transmitted 

* See Proceedings of Linnean Society, 1858. 


by the force of inheritance to their offspring, will constitute 
new races, or what Mr. Darwin calls ( incipient species.' If 
one variety, being in other respects just equal to its com 
petitors, happens to be more prolific, some of its offspring 
will stand a greater chance of being among those which will 
escape destruction, and their descendants, being in like 
manner very fertile, will continue to multiply at the expense 
of all less prolific varieties. 

As breeders of domestic animals, when they choose certain 
varieties in preference to others to breed from, speak techni 
cally of their method as that of ' selecting,' Mr. Darwin calls 
the combination of natural causes, which may enable certain 
varieties of wild animals or plants to prevail over others of 
the same species, e natural selection,' 

A breeder finds that a new race of cattle with short horns 
or without horns may be formed, in the course of several 
generations, by choosing varieties having the most stunted 
horns as his stock from which to breed ; so nature, by altering, 
in. the course of ages, the conditions of life, the geographical 
features of a country, its climate, the associated plants and 
animals, and, consequently, the food and enemies of a species 
and its mode of life, may be said, by this means, to select 
certain varieties best adapted for the new state of things. 
Such new races may often supplant the original type from 
which they have diverged, although that type may have been 
perpetuated without modification for countless anterior ages 
in the same region, so long as it was in harmony with the 
surrounding conditions then prevailing. 

Lamarck, when speculating on the origin of the long neck 
. of the giraffe, imagined that quadruped to have stretched 
himself up in order to reach the boughs of lofty trees, until 
,by continued efforts, and longing to reach higher, he obtained 
an elongated neck. Mr. Darwin and Mr. Wallace simply 
suppose that, in a season of scarcity, a longer-necked variety, 


having the advantage in this respect over most of the herd, 
as being able to browse on foliage out of their reach, survived 
them, and transmitted its peculiarity of cervical conformation 
to its successors. 

By the multiplying of slight modifications in the course 
of thousands of generations, and by the handing down of 
the newly-acquired peculiarities by inheritance, a greater and 
greater divergence from the original standard is supposed to 
be effected, until what may be called a new species, or, in a 
greater lapse of time, a new genus, will be the result. 

Every naturalist admits that there is a general tendency in ' 
animals and plants to vary ; but it is usually taken for granted, 
though we have no means of proving the assumption to be 
true, that there are certain limits beyond which each species 
cannot pass under any circumstances, or in any number of 
generations. Mr. Darwin and Mr. Wallace say that the 
opposite hypothesis, which assumes that every species is 
capable of varying indefinitely from its original type, is not 
a whit more arbitrary, and has this manifest claim to be pre 
ferred, that it will account for a multitude of phenomena 
which the ordinary theory is incapable of explaining. 

We have no right, they say, to assume, should we find that 
a variable species can no longer be made to vary in a certain 
direction, that it has reached the utmost limit to which it 
might, under more favourable conditions, or if more time 
were allowed, be made to diverge from the parent type. 

Hybridisation is not considered by Mr. Darwin as a cause 
of new species, but rather as tending to keep variation with 
in bounds. Varieties which are nearly allied cross readily 
with each other, and with the parent stock, and such cross 
ing tends to keep the species true to its type, while forms 
which are less nearly related, although they may intermarry, 
produce no mule offspring capable of perpetuating their kind. 

The competition of races and species, observes Mr. Darwin, 


is always most severe between those which, are most closely 
allied and which fill nearly the same place in the economy of 
'nature. Hence, when the conditions of existence are modi 
fied, the original stock runs great risk of being superseded 
by some one of its modified offshoots. The new race or 
species may not be absolutely superior in the sum of its 
powers and endowments to the parent stock, and may even be 
more simple in structure and of a lower grade of intelligence, 
as well as of organisation, provided, on the whole, it happens 
to have some slight advantage over its rivals. Progression, 
therefore, is not a necessary accompaniment of variation and 
natural selection, though, when a higher organisation hap 
pens to be coincident with superior fitness to new conditions, 
the new species will have greater power and a greater chance 
of permanently maintaining and extending its ground. One 
of the principal claims of Mr. Darwin's theory to acceptance 
is, that it enables us to dispense with a law of progression 
as a necessary accompaniment of variation. It will account 
equally well for what is called degradation, or a retrograde 
movement towards a simpler structure, and does not require 
Lamarck's continual creation of monads ; for this was a 
necessary part of his system, in order to explain how, after 
the progressive power had been at work for myriads of ages, 
there were as many beings of the simplest structure in exist 
ence as ever. 

Mr. Darwin labours to show, and with no small success, 
that all true classification in zoology and botany is, in fact, 
genealogical, and that community of descent is the hidden 
bond which naturalists have been unconsciously seeking, 
while they often imagined that they were looking for some 
unknown plan of creation. 

As the < Origin of Species,'* is in itself a condensed 

* Origin of Species, p. 121. 


abstract of a much larger work not yet published, I could 
not easily give an analysis of its contents within narrower 
limits than those of the original, but it may be useful to 
enumerate briefly some of the principal classes of phenomena 
on which the theory of e Natural Selection ' is believed by 
its author to throw light. 

In the first place, it would explain, says Mr. Darwin, the 
unity of type which runs through the whole organic world, 
and why there is sometimes a fundamental agreement in 
structure in the same class of beings which is quite indepen 
dent of their habits of life, for such structure, derived by 
inheritance from a remote progenitor, has been modified, in 
the course of ages, in different ways, according to the condi 
tions of existence. It would also explain why all living and 
extinct beings are united, by complex radiating and circuitous 
lines of affinity with one another, into one grand system ; * 
also, there having been a continued extinction of old races 
and species in progress, and a formation of new ones by varia 
tion, why in some genera which are largely represented, or to 
which a great many species belong, many of these are closely 
but unequally related; also, why there are distinct geographical 
provinces of species of animals and plants, for, after long 
isolation by physical barriers, each fauna and flora, by varying 
continually, must become distinct from its ancestral type, 
and from the new forms assumed by other descendants which 
have diverged from the same stock. 

The theory of indefinite modification would also explain why 
rudimentary organs are so useful in classification, being the 
remnants preserved by inheritance of organs which the present 
species once used as in the case of the rudiments of eyes 
in insects and reptiles inhabiting dark caverns, or of the 
wings of birds and beetles which have lost all power of flight. 

* Origin, p. 498. 


IQ such cases the affinities of species are often more readily 
discerned by reference to these imperfect structures than by 
others of much more physiological importance to the in 
dividuals themselves. 

The same hypothesis would explain why there are no mam 
malia in islands far from continents, except bats, which can 
reach them by flying ; and also why the birds, insects, plants, 
and other inhabitants of islands, even when specifically 
unlike, usually agree generically with those of the nearest 
continent, it being assumed that the original stock of such 
species came by migration from the nearest land. 

Variation and natural selection would also afford a key to a 
multitude of geological facts otherwise wholly unaccounted 
for, as, for example, why there is generally an intimate con 
nection between the living animals and plants of each great 
division of the globe and the extinct fauna and flora of the 
post- tertiary or tertiary formations of the same region ; as, for 
example, in North America, where we not only find among the 
living mollusca peculiar forms foreign to Europe, such as Grna- 
thodon and Fulgur (a subgenus of Pyrula), but meet also with 
extinct species of those same genera in the tertiary fauna of the 
same part of the world. In like manner, among the mammalia 
we find in Australia not only living kangaroos and wombats, 
but fossil individuals of extinct species of the same genera. 
So also there are recent and fossil sloths, armadilloes, and other 
edentata in South America, and living and extinct species 
of elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, and bear in the great Europeo- 
Asiatic continent. The theory of the origin of new species 
by variation will also explain why a species which has once 
died out never reappears, and why the fossil fauna arid flora 
recede farther and farther from the living type in propor 
tion as we trace it back to remoter ages. It would also 
account for the fact, that when we have to intercalate a new 
get of fossiliferous strata between two groups previously 


known, the newly discovered fossils serve to fill up gaps 
between specific or generic types previously familiar to us, 
supplying often the missing links of the chain, which, if 
transmutation is accepted, must once have been continuous. 

One of the most original speculations in Mr. Darwin's 
work is derived from the fact that, in the breeding of 
animals, it is often observed that at whatever age any varia 
tion first appears in the parent, it tends to reappear at a 
corresponding age in the offspring. Hence the young in 
dividuals of two races which have sprung from the same 
parent stock are usually more like each other than the 
adults. Thus the puppies of the greyhound and bull-dog 
are much more nearly alike in their proportions than the 
grown-up dogs, and in like manner the foals of the cart and 
racehorse than the adult individuals. For the same reason 
we may understand why the species of the same genus, 
or genera of the same family, resemble each other more 
nearly in their embryonic than in their more fully developed 
state, or how it is that in the eyes of most naturalists the 
structure of the embryo is even more important in classifica 
tion than that of the adult, 6 for the embryo is the animal in 
its less modified state, and in so far it reveals the structure 
of its progenitor. In two groups of animals, however much 
they may at present differ from each other in structure and 
habits, if they pass through the same or similar embryonic 
stages, we may feel assured that they have both descended 
from the same or nearly similar parents, and are therefore in 
that degree closely related. Thus community in embryonic 
structure reveals community of descent, however much the 
structure of the adult may have been modified.'* 

If then there had been a system of progressive develop 
ment, the successive changes through which the embryo of a 

* Darwin, Origin, &c., p. 448. 


species of a high class, a mammifer, for example, now passes, 
may be expected to present us with a picture of the stages 
through which, in the course of ages, that class of animals 
has successively passed in advancing from a lower to a 
higher grade. Hence the embryonic states exhibited one 
after the other by the human individual bear a certain amount 
of resemblance to those of the fish, reptile, and bird before 
assuming those of the highest division of the vertebrata. 

Mr. Darwin, after making a laborious analysis of many 
floras, found that those genera which are represented by a 
large number of species contain a greater number of variable 
species, relatively speaking, than the smaller genera, or those 
less numerously represented. This fact he adduces in support 
of his opinion that varieties are incipient species, for he ob 
serves that the existence of the larger genera implies, in the 
period immediately preceding our own, that the manufacturing 
of species has been active, in which case we ought generally 
to find the same forces still in full activity, more especially 
as we have every reason to believe the process by which new 
species are produced is a slow one.* 

Dr. Hooker tells us that he was long disposed to doubt 
this result, as he was acquainted with so many variable small 
genera, but after examining Mr. Darwin's data, he was com 
pelled to acquiesce in his generalisation.! 

It is one of those conclusions, to verify which requires the 
investigation of many thousands of species, and to which 
exceptions may easily be adduced, both in the animal and 
vegetable kingdoms, so that it will be long before we can 
expect it to be thoroughly tested, and, if true, fairly appre 
ciated. Among the most striking exceptions will be some 
genera still large, but which are beginning to decrease, the 
conditions which were favourable to their former predomi- 

* Origin of Species, ch. ii. p. 56. 

f Introductory Essay on Flora of Australia, p. vi. 


nance having already begun to change. To many, this doc 
trine of Natural Selection, or 'the preservation of favoured 
races in the struggle for life,' seems so simple, when once 
clearly stated, and so consonant with known facts and 
received principles, that they have difficulty in conceiving 
how it can constitute a great step in the progress of science. 
Such is often the case with important discoveries, but in 
order to assure ourselves that the doctrine was by no means 
obvious, we have only to refer back to the writings of skilful 
naturalists who attempted in the earlier part of the nine 
teenth century, to theorise on this subject, before the inven 
tion of this new method of explaining how certain forms 
are supplanted by new ones, and in what manner these 
last are selected out of innumerable varieties, and rendered 

Dr. Hooker, on the Theory of ' Creation by Variation ' as 
applied to'the Vegetable Kingdom. 

Of Dr. Hooker, whom I have often cited in this chapter, 
Mr. Darwin has spoken in the Introduction to his ( Origin of 
Species,' as one f who had, for fifteen years, aided him in every 
possible way, by his large stores of knowledge, and his excel 
lent judgement.' This distinguished botanist published his 
' Introductory Essay to the Flora of Australia ' * in 1859, the 
year after the memoir on ( Natural Selection 'was communi 
cated to the Linnsean Society, and a few months before 
the appearance of the f Origin of Species.' 

Having, in the course of his extensive travels, studied the 
botany of arctic, temperate, and tropical regions, and writ 
ten on the flora of India, which he had examined at all 
heights above the sea, from the plains of Bengal to the limits 

* Introductory Essay, &c., sold separately. Loyell Eeeve, London, 1859. 

E E 


of perpetual snow in the Himalaya, and having specially 
devoted his attention to ( geographical varieties,' or those 
changes of character which plants exhibit, when traced over 
wide areas and seen under new conditions ; being also prac 
tically versed in the description arid classification of new 
plants, from various parts of the world, and having been 
called upon carefully to consider the claims of thousands of 
varieties to rank as species, no one was better qualified by 
observation and reflection to give an authoritative opinion on 
the question, whether the present vegetation of the globe is 
or is not in accordance with the theory which Mr. Darwin 
has proposed. We cannot but feel, therefore, deeply inte 
rested when we find him making tbe following declaration : 
( The mutual relations of the plants of each great botanical 
province, and, in fact, of the world generally, is just such as 
would have resulted if variation had gone on operating 
throughout indefinite periods, in the same manner as we see 
it act in a limited number of centuries, so as gradually to give 
rise in the course of time, to the most widely divergent forms.' 
In the same Essay, this author remarks, ' The element of 
mutability pervades the whole Vegetable Kingdom ; no class, 
nor order, nor genus of more than a few species claims abso 
lute exemption from it, whilst the grand total of unstable 
forms, generally assumed to be species, probably exceeds 
that of the stable.' Yet he contends that species are neither 
visionary, nor even arbitrary creations of the naturalist, but 
realities, though they may not remain true for ever (p. 11). 
The majority of them, he remarks, are so far constant, 
4 within the range of our experience,' and their forms and 
characters so faithfully handed down, through thousands of 
generations, that they admit of being treated as if they were 
permanent and immutable. But the range of ' our experi 
ence ' is so limited, that it will not account for a single fact 
in the present geographical distribution, or origin of any one 


species of plant, nor for the amount of variation it has 
undergone, nor will it indicate the time when it first appeared, 
nor the form it had when created.'* 

To what an extent the limits of species are indefinable, is 
evinced, he says, by the singular fact that, among those 
botanists who believe them to be immutable, the number of 
flowering plants is by some assumed to be 80,000, and by 
others over 150,000. The general limitation of species to 
certain areas, suggests the idea that each of them, with all 
their varieties, have sprung from a common parent, and have 
spread in various directions from a common centre. The 
frequency also of the grouping of genera within certain 
geographical limits, is in favour of the same law, although 
the migration of species may sometimes cause apparent 
exceptions to the rule, and make the same types appear to 
have originated independently at different spots.f 

Certain genera of plants, which like the brambles, roses, 
and willows in Europe, consist of a continuous series of 
varieties, between the terms of which no intermediate forms 
can be intercalated, may be supposed to be on the increase, 
and therefore undergoing much variation ; whereas genera 
which present no such perplexing gradations, may be those 
which have been losing species and varieties by extinction. 
The annihilation of the intermediate forms which once 
existed, makes it an easy task to distinguish those which 

It had usually been supposed by the advocates of the 
immutability of species, that domesticated races, if allowed to 
run wild, always revert to their parent type. Mr. Wallace 
had said in reply, that a domesticated species, if it loses the 
protection of man, can only stand its ground in a wild state 
by resuming those habits, and recovering those attributes 

* Hooker, Introductory Essay, Flora of Australia. f Ibid. p. 13. 

K 2 


which it may have lost when under domestication. If these 
faculties are so much enfeebled as to be irrecoverable, it will 
perish ; if not, and if it can adapt itself to the surrounding con 
ditions, it will revert to the state in which man first found it ; 
for in one, two, or three thousand years, which may have 
elapsed since it was originally tamed, there will not have 
been time for such geographical, climatal, and organic changes, 
as would only be suited to a new race, or a new and allied 

But in regard to plants, Dr. Hooker questions the fact of 
reversion. According to him, species in general do not 
readily vary, but when they once begin to do so, the new 
varieties, as every horticulturist knows, show a great inclina 
tion to go on departing more and more from the old stock. 
As the best marked varieties of a wild species occur on the 
confines of the area which it inhabits, so the best marked 
varieties of a cultivated plant, are those last produced by the 
gardener. Cabbages, for example, wall fruit, and cerealia, 
show no disposition, when neglected, to assume the charac 
ters of the wild states of these plants. Hence the difficulty of 
determining what are the true parent species of most of our 
cultivated plants. Thus the finer kinds of apples, if grown 
from seed, degenerate and become crabs, but in so doing 
they do not revert to the original wild crab-apple, but 
become crab states of the varieties to which they belong.* 

It would lead me into too long a digression, were I to 
attempt to give a fuller analysis of this admirable essay ; but 
I may add, that none of the observations are more in point, 
as bearing on the doctrine of what Hooker terms ' creation 
by variation,' than the great extent to which the internal 
characters and properties of plants, or their physiological 
constitution are capable of being modified, while they exhibit 

* Introductory Essay, Flora of Australia, p. ix. 


externally, no visible departure from the normal form. Thus, 
in one region a species may possess peculiar medicinal quali 
ties which it wants in another, or it may be hardier and 
better able to resist cold. The average range in altitude, says 
Hooker, of each species of flowering plant in the Himalayan 
Mountains, whether in the tropical, temperate, or Alpine 
region, is 4,000 feet, which is equivalent to twelve degrees 
of isothermals of latitude. If an individual of any of these 
species be taken from the upper limits of its range and 
carried to England, it is found to be better able to stand our 
climate than those from the lower or warmer stations. 
When several of these internal or physiological modifications 
are accompanied by variation in size, habits of growth, colour 
of the flowers, and other external characters, and these are 
found to be constant in successive generations, botanists may 
well begin to differ in opinion as to whether they ought to 
regard them as distinct species or not. 

Alternate Generation. 

Hitherto, no rival hypothesis has been proposed as a sub 
stitute for the doctrine of transmutation ; for ( independent 
creation,' as it is often termed, or the direct intervention of the 
Supreme Cause, must simply be considered as an avowal that 
we deem the question to lie beyond the domain of science. 

The discovery by Sefstrom of alternate generation enlarges 
our views of the range of metamorphosis through which a 
species may pass, so that some of its stages (as when a Sertu- 
laria and a Medusa interchange) deviate so far from others as 
to have been referred by able zoologists to distinct genera, or 
even families. But in all these cases the organism, after 
running through a certain cycle of change, returns to the 
exact point from which it set out, and no new form or species 
is thereby introduced into the world. The only secondary 


cause, therefore, which has, as yet, been even conjecturally 
brought forward, to explain how, in the ordinary course of 
nature, a new specific form may be generated is, as Lamarck 
declared, ' variation,' and this has been rendered a far more 
probable hypothesis by the way in which Natural Selection is 
shown to give intensity and permanency to certain varieties. 

Independent Creation. 

When I formerly advocated the doctrine that species were 
primordial creations, and not derivative, I endeavoured to 
explain the manner of their geographical distribution, and 
the affinity of living forms to the fossil types nearest akin 
to them in the tertiary strata of the same part of the globe, 
by supposing that the creative power, which originally adapts 
certain types to aquatic and others to terrestrial conditions, 
has, at successive geological epochs introduced new forms 
best suited to each area and climate, so as to fill the places of 
those which may have died out. 

In that case, although the new species would differ from 
the old (for these would not be revived, having been already 
proved by the fact of their extinction, to be incapable of 
holding their ground), still, they would resemble their pre 
decessors generically. For, as Mr. Darwin states in regard 
to new races, those of a dominant type inherit the advantages 
which made their parent species flourish in the same country, 
and they likewise partake in those general advantages which 
made the genus to which the parent species belonged, a large 
genus in its own country. 

We might, therefore, by parity of reasoning, have antici 
pated that the creative power, adapting the new types to the 
new combination of organic and inorganic conditions of a 
given region, such as its soil, climate, and inhabitants, would 
introduce new modifications of the old types, marsupials, 


for example in Australia, new sloths and armadilloes in South 
America, new heaths at the Cape, new roses in the northern, 
and new camelias in the southern hemisphere. But to this 
line of argument Mr. Darwin and Dr. Hooker reply, that 
when animals or plants migrate into new countries, whether 
assisted by man, or without his aid, the most successful 
colonisers appertain by no means to those types which are 
most allied to the old indigenous species. On the contrary, 
it more frequently happens that members of genera, orders, 
or even classes, distinct and foreign to the invaded country, 
make their way most rapidly, and become dominant at the 
expense of the endemic species. Such is the case with the 
placental quadrupeds in Australia, and with horses and many 
foreign plants in the pampas of South America, and number 
less instances in the United States and elsewhere, which 
might easily be enumerated. Hence, the transmutationists 
infer that, the reason why these foreign types, so peculiarly 
fitted for these regions have never before been developed 
there, is simply that they were excluded by natural barriers. 
But these barriers of sea, or desert, or mountain, could never 
have been of the least avail, had the creative force acted 
independently of material laws, or had it not pleased the 
Author of Nature that the origin of new species should be 
governed by some secondary causes analogous to those which 
we see preside over the appearance of new varieties, which 
never appear except as the offspring of a parent stock very 
closely resembling them. 





Theory of Transmutation Absence of Intei^mediate Links. 

most obvious and popular of the objections urged 
-L against the theory of transmutation may be thus ex 
pressed : If the extinct species of plants and animals of the 
later geological periods were the progenitors of the living 
species, and gave origin to them by variation and natural 
selection, where are all the intermediate forms, fossil and 
living, through which the lost types must have passed during 
their conversion into the living ones ? And why do we not 
find almost everywhere passages between the nearest allied 


species and genera, instead of such strong lines of demarca 
tion, and often wide intervening gaps ? 

We may consider this objection under two heads: 

First, To what extent are the gradational links really 
wanting in the living creation or in the fossil world, and how 
far may we expect to discover such as are missing by future 
research ? 

Secondly, Are the gaps more numerous than we ought 
to anticipate, allowing for the original defective state of the 
geological records, their subsequent dilapidation, and our 
slight acquaintance with such parts of them as are extant, 
and allowing also for the rate of extinction of races and 
species now going on, and which has been going on since the 
commencement of the tertiary period ? 

First, As to the alleged absence of intermediate varieties 
connecting one species with another, every zoologist and 
botanist who has engaged in the task of classification has 
been occasionally thrown into this dilemma, if I make 
more than one species in this group, I must, to be consistent, 
make a great many. Even in a limited region like the British 
Isles, this embarrassment is continually felt. 

Scarcely any two botanists, for example, can agree as to 
the number of roses, still less as to how many species of 
bramble we possess. Of the latter genus, Rubus, there is 
one set of forms, respecting which it is still a question 
whether it ought to be regarded as constituting three species 
or thirty-seven. Mr. Bentham adopts the first alternative, 
and Mr. Babington the second, in their well-known treatises 
on British plants. 

We learn from Dr. Hooker's Flora of Australia that this 
same genus Rubus abounds likewise at the antipodes, and is 
there also rich in variable species. When we consider how, as 
we extend our knowledge of the same plant over a wider area, 
new geographical varieties commonly present themselves, and 


then endeavour to imagine the number of forms of the genus 
Rubus which may now exist, or probably have existed in 
Europe, and in regions intervening between Europe and 
Australia, comprehending all which may have flourished in 
tertiary and post-tertiary periods, we shall perceive how little 
stress should be laid on arguments founded on the assumed 
absence of missing links in the flora as it now exists. 

If in the battle of life the competition is keenest between 
closely allied varieties and species, as Mr. Darwin contends, 
many forms can never be of long duration, nor have a wide 
range, and these must often pass away without leaving behind 
them any fossil memorials. In this manner we may account 
for many breaks in the series which no future researches will 
ever fill up. 

Davidson on Fossil Brachiopoda. 

It is from fossil conchology more than from any other 
department of the organic world that we may hope to derive 
traces of a transition from certain types to others, and fossil 
memorials of all the intermediate shades of form. We may 
especially hope to gain this information from the study of 
some of the lower groups, such as the Brachiopoda, which are 
persistent in type, so that the thread of our enquiry is less 
likely to be interrupted by breaks in the sequence of the 
fossiliferous rocks. The splendid monograph just concluded 
by Mr. Davidson, on the British Brachiopoda, illustrates, in 
the first place, the tendency of certain generic forms in this 
division of the mollusca to be persistent throughout the 
whole range of geological time yet known to us ; for the four 
genera Rhynconella, Crania, Discina, and Lingula have 
been traced through the Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, 
Permian, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Tertiary, and Eecent periods, 
and still retain in the existing seas the identical shape and 


character which they exhibited in the earliest formations. 
On the other hand, other brachiopoda have gone through in 
shorter periods a vast series of transformations, so that 
distinct specific, and even generic names have been given to 
, the same varying form, according to the different aspects 
and characters it has put on in successive sets of strata. 

In proportion as materials of comparison have accu 
mulated, the necessity of uniting species, previously re 
garded as distinct, under one denomination has become 
more and more apparent. Mr. Davidson, accordingly, after 
studying not less than 260 reputed species from the British 
carboniferous rocks, has been obliged to reduce that num 
ber to 100, to which he has added 20 species either entirely 
new or new to the British strata; but he declares his con 
viction that, when our knowledge of these 120 brachiopoda 
is more complete, a further reduction of species will take 

Speaking of one of these forms, which he calls Spirifer 
trigonalis, he says that it is so dissimilar to another extreme 
of the series, 8. crassa, that in the first part of his memoir 
(published some ten years ago) he described them as distinct, 
and the idea of confounding them together must, he admits, 
appear absurd to those who have never seen the intermediate 
links, such as are presented by S. bisulcata, and at least four 
others with their varieties, most of them shells formerly 
recognised as distinct by the most eminent paleontologists, 
but respecting which these same authorities now agree with 
Mr. Davidson in uniting them into one species.* 

The same species has sometimes continued to exist under 
slightly modified forms throughout the whole of the Lower 
and Upper Silurian as well as the entire Devonian and Car 
boniferous periods, as in the case of the shell generally known 

* Monograph on British Brachiopoda, Paleontological Society, p. 222. 


as Leptcena depressa, which we must now call, in obedience to 
the law of priority of nomenclature, Anomites (or Stropho- 
mena) rhomboidalis, Wahlenberg. No less than fifteen com 
monly received species are demonstrated by Mr. Davidson, by 
the aid of a long series of transitional forms, to appertain to 
this one type, and it is acknowledged by some of the best 
writers that they were induced to give distinct names to some 
of the varieties now suppressed on purely theoretical grounds, 
namely, because they found them in rocks so widely remote 
in time, that they deemed it contrary to analogy to suppose 
that the same species could have endured so long a mode of 
reasoning analogous to that which leads some zoologists and 
botanists to distinguish by specific names slight varieties of 
living plants and animals met with in very remote countries, 
as in Europe and Australia, for example, it being assumed 
that each species has had a single birth-place or area of 
creation, and that they could not by migration have gone 
from the northern to the southern hemisphere across the 
intervening tropics. 

Examples are also given by Mr. Davidson of species which 
pass from the Devonian into the Carboniferous, and from that 
again into the Permian rocks. The vast longevity of such 
specific forms has not been generally recognised in conse 
quence of the change of names, which they have undergone 
when derived from such distant formations, as when Atrypa 
unguicularis assumes, when derived from a carboniferous 
rock, the name of Spirifer Urii, besides several other syno 
nyms, and then, when it reaches the Permian period, takes the 
name of Spirifer Glannyana, (King) ; all of which forms the 
author of the monograph, now under consideration, asserts to 
be one and the same. 

No geologist will deny that the distance of time which 
separates some of the eras above alluded to, or the dates of 
the earliest and latest appearances of some of the fossils 


above mentioned, must be reckoned by millions of years. 
According to Mr. Darwin's views, it is only by having at our 
command the records of such enormous periods, that we can 
expect to be able to point out the gradations which unite 
very distinct specific forms. But the advocate of transmu 
tation must not be disappointed if, when he has succeeded in 
obtaining some of the proofs which he was, challenged to pro 
duce, they make no impression on the mind of his opponent. 
All that will be conceded is that specific variation in the 
Brachiopoda, at least, has a wider range than was formerly 
suspected. So long as several allied species were brought 
nearer and nearer to each other, considerable uneasiness might 
have been felt as to the reality of species in general, but when 
fifteen or more are once fairly merged in one group, consti 
tuting in the aggregate a single species, one, and indivisible, 
and capable of being readily distinguished from every other 
group at present kno^n, all misgivings are at an end. Implicit 
trust in the immutability of species is then restored, and the 
more insensible the shades from one extreme to the other, in 
a word, the more complete the evidence of transition, the 
more nugatory does the argument derived from it appear. 
It then simply resolves itself into one of those exceptional 
instances of what is called a protean form. 1 

Thirty years ago a great London dealer in shells, himself an 
able naturalist, told me that there was nothing he had so 
much reason to dread, as tending to depreciate his stock in 
trade, as the appearance of a good monograph on some large 
genus of mollusca ; for, in proportion as the work was executed 
in a philosophical spirit, it was sure to injure him, every 
reputed species pronounced to be a mere variety becoming 
from that time unsaleable. Fortunately, so much progress 
has since been made in England in estimating the true ends 
and aims of science, that specimens indicating a passage 
between forms usually separated by wide gaps, whether in 


the recent or fossil fauna, are eagerly sought for, and often 
more prized than the mere normal or typical forms. 

It is clear, that the more ancient the existing mollusca, or 
the farther back into the past we can trace the remains of 
shells still living, the more easy it becomes to reconcile with 
the doctrine of transmutation the distinctness in character of 
the majority of living species. For, what we want is time, 
first, for the gradual formation, and then for the extinction 
of races and allied species, occasioning gaps between the 

In the year 1830, I announced, on the authority of 
M. Deshayes, that about one-fifth of the mollusca of the 
Falunian or Upper Miocene strata of Europe, belonged to 
living species. Although the soundness of that conclusion 
was afterwards called in question by two or three eminent 
conchologists (and by the late M. Alcide d'Orbigny among 
others), it has since been confirmed by the majority of living- 
naturalists, and is well borne out by the copious evidence 
on the subject laid before the public in the magnificent work 
edited by M. Homes, and published under the auspices of 
the Austrian Government, ' On the Fossil Shells of the 
Vienna Basin.' 

The collection of tertiary shells from which those descrip 
tions and beautiful figures were taken is almost unexampled 
for the fine state of preservation of the specimens, and the 
care with which all the varieties have been compared. It is 
now admitted that about one third of these Miocene forms, 
univalves and bivalves included, agree specifically with living 
mollusca, so that much more than the enormous interval 
which divides the Miocene from the Eecent period must be 
taken into our account when we speculate on the origin by 
transmutation of the shells now living, and the disappear 
ance by extinction of intermediate varieties and species. 


Miocene Plants and Insects related to recent Species. 

Geologists were acquainted with about three hundred 
species of marine shells from the ( Falunian ' strata on the 
banks of the Loire, before they knew anything of the contem 
porary insects and ' plants. At length, as if to warn us 
against inferring from negative evidence the poverty of 
any ancient set of strata in organic remains proper to the 
land, a rich flora and entomological fauna was suddenly 
revealed to us characteristic of Central Europe during the 
Upper Miocene period. This result followed the determina 
tion of the true position of the Oeninghen beds in Switzerland, 
and of certain formations of f Brown Coal ' in Germany. 

Professor Heer, who has described nearly five hundred 
species of fossil plants from Oeninghen, besides many more 
from other Miocene localities in Switzerland,* estimates 
the phenogamous species, which must have flourished in 
Central Europe at that time, at 3,000, and the insects as 
having been more numerous in the same proportion as they 
now exceed the plants in all latitudes. This European 
Miocene flora was remarkable for the preponderance of arbo 
rescent and shrubby evergreens, and comprised many generic 
types no longer associated together in any existing flora or 
geographical province. Some genera, for example, which 
are at present restricted to America, coexisted in Switzer 
land with forms now peculiar to Asia, and with others at 
present confined to Australia. 

Professor Heer has not ventured to identify any of this 
vast assemblage of Miocene plants and insects with living 
species, so far at least as to assign to them the same specific 
names, but he presents us with a list of what he terms 

* Heer, Flora tertiana Helvetise, 1859 ; and Gaudin's French translation, 
with additions, 1861. 


homologous forms, which are so like the living ones, that he 
supposes the one to have been derived genealogically from 
the others. He hesitates indeed as to the ' manner of the 
transformation, or the precise nature of the relationship, 
" whether the changes were brought about by some influence 
exerted continually for ages, or whether at some given 
moment the old types were struck with a new image." 

Among the homologous plants alluded to are forty species, 
of which both the leaves and fruits are preserved, and thirty 
others, known at present by their leaves only. In the first 
list we find many American types, such as the tulip tree, 
Liriodendron, the deciduous cypress, Taxodium, the red 
maple, and others, together with Japanese forms, such as the 
cinnamon, which is very abundant. And what is worthy of 
notice, some of these fossils so closely allied to living plants 
occur not only in the Upper, but even some few of them as 
far back in time as the Lower Miocene formations of Switzer 
land and Germany, which are probably as distant from the 
Upper Miocene or Oeninghen beds as are the latter from our 
own era. 

Some of the fossil plants to which Professor Heer has 
given new names have been regarded as recent species by 
other eminent naturalists. Thus, Unger had called one of 
the trees allied to the elm, Planera Richardi, a species 
which now flourishes in the United States. Professor Heer 
had attempted to distinguish it from the living tree by the 
greater size of its fruit, but this character he confessed did 
not hold good, when he had an opportunity (1861) of com 
paring all the varieties of the living Planera Richardi 
which Dr. Hooker laid before him in the rich herbarium 
of Kew. 

As to the ( homologous insects' of the Upper Miocene 
period in Switzerland, we find among them, mingled with 
genera and orders now wholly foreign to Europe, some very 


familiar forms such as the common glowworm, Lampyris 
noctiluca, Linn., the dung-beetle, Geotrupie stercorarius, 
Linn., the ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata, Linn., the 
earwig, Forficula auricularia, Linn., some of our common 
dragon-flies, as Libellula depressa, Linn., the honey-bee, 
Apis mellifera, Linn., the cuckoo spittle insect, Aphrophora, 
spumaria, Linn., and a long catalogue of others, to all of 
which Professor Heer has given new names, but which some 
entomologists may regard as mere varieties until some 
stronger reasons are adduced for coming to a contrary 

Several of the insects above enumerated, like the com 
mon ladybird, are well known at present to have a very wide 
range, over nearly the whole of the Old World, for example, 
without varying, and might, therefore, be expected to have 
been persistent throughout many successive changes of the 
earth's surface and climate. Yet we may fairly anticipate 
that even the most constant types will have undergone some 
modifications in passing from the Miocene to the Recent 
epoch, since in the former period the geography and climate 
of Europe, the height of the Alps, and the general fauna and 
flora were so different from what they now are. But the 
deviation may not exceed that which would generally be 
expressed by what is called, a well-marked variety. 

Before I pass on to another topic, it may be well to answer 
a question which may have occurred to the reader ; how it 
happens that we remained so long igno'rant of the vegetation 
and insects of the Upper Miocene period in Europe ? The 
answer may be instructive to those who are in the habit of un 
derrating the former richness of the organic world wherever 
they happen to have no evidence of its condition. A large part 
of the Upper Miocene insects and plants alluded to have been 
met with at Oeninghen, near the Lake of Constance, in two or 
three spots embedded in thinly laminated marls, the entire 

F F 


thickness of which scarcely exceeds three or four feet, and in 
two quarries of very limited dimensions. The rare combination 
of causes which seems to have led to the faithful preservation 
of so many treasures of a perishable nature in so small an 
area, appear to have been the following : first, a river flowing 
into a lake ; secondly, storms of wind, by which leaves, and 
sometimes the boughs of trees, were torn off, and floated by 
the stream into the lake ; thirdly, mephitic gases rising from 
the lake, by which insects flying over its surface were occasion 
ally killed : and fourthly, a constant supply of carbonate of lime 
in solution from mineral springs, the calcareous matter, when 
precipitated to the bottom, mingling with fine mud, and thus 
forming the fossiliferous marls. 

Species of Insects in Britain and North America, repre 
sented by distinct Varieties. 

If we compare the living British insects with those of the 
American continent, we frequently find that even those 
species which are considered to be identical, are, neverthe 
less, varieties of the European types. I have noticed this 
fact when speaking of the common English butterfly, Vanessa 
atalanta, or 6 red admirable,' which I saw flying about the 
woods of Alabama in mid winter. I was unable to detect 
any difference myself, but all the American specimens which 
I took to the British Museum were observed by Mr. Double- 
day to exhibit a slight peculiarity in the colouring of a 
minute part of the anterior wing,* a character first detected 
by Mr. T. F. Stephens, who has also discovered that similar 
slight, but equally constant variations, distinguish other lepi- 
doptera now inhabiting the opposite sides of the Atlantic, 
insects which, nevertheless, he and Mr. Westwood and the 

* LyelTs_Second Visit to the United States, vol. ii. p. 293. 


late Mr. Kirby, have always agreed to regard as mere 
varieties of tlie same species. 

Mr. T. V. Wollaston, in treating of the variation of insects 
in maritime situations and small islands, has shown how the 
colour, growth of the wings, and many other characters, 
undergo modification under the influence of local conditions, 
continued for long periods of time ; * and Mr. Brown has lately 
called our attention to the fact, that the insects of the Shet 
land Isles present slight deviations from the corresponding 
types occurring in Great Britain, but far less marked than 
those which distinguish the American from the European 
varieties.! In the case of Shetland, Mr. Brown remarks, a 
land communication may well be supposed to have prevailed 
with Scotland at a more modern era than that between 
Europe and America. In fact, we have seen that Shetland 
can hardly fail to have Been united with Scotland after the 
commencement of the glacial period (see map, p. 279); 
whereas a communication between the north of Europe by 
Iceland and Greenland (which as before stated, once enjoyed 
a genial climate), must have been anterior to the glacial 
epoch. A much larger isolation, and the impossibility of 
varieties formed in the two separated areas crossing with each 
other, would account, according to Mr. Darwin's theory, for 
the much wider divergence observed in the specific types of 
the two regions. 

The reader will remember that at the commencement of the 
Glacial Period there was scarcely any appreciable difference 
between the molluscous fauna and that now living. When 
therefore the events of the Glacial Period, as described in the 
earlier part of this volume are duly pondered on, and when we 
reflect that in the Upper Miocene period the living species of 
mollusca constitute only one third of the whole fauna, we see 

* Wollaston, On the Variation of f Transactions of Northern Entomo- 
Species,&c. London, Van Voorst, 1856. logical Society, 1862. 

F F 2 


clearly by how high a figure we must multiply the time in 
order to express the distance between the Miocene Period 
and our own days. 

Species of Mammalia recent and fossil. Proboscidians. 

But it may perhaps be said that the mammalia afford more 
conspicuous examples than do the mollusca, insects, or plants 
of the wide gaps which separate species and genera, and 
that if in this higher class such a multitude of transitional 
forms had ever existed as would be required to unite the ter 
tiary and recent species into one series or net-work of allied 
or transitional forms, they could not so entirely have es 
caped observation, whether in the fossil or living fauna. A 
zoologist who entertains such an opinion would do well to 
devote himself to the study of some one genus of mammalia, 
such as the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, bear, horse, 
ox, or deer ; and after collecting all the materials he can 
get together respecting the extinct and recent species, 
decide for himself whether the present state of science 
justifies his assuming that the chain could never have 
been continuous, the number of the missing links being so 

Among the extinct species formerly contemporary with 
man, no fossil quadruped* has so often been alluded to in this 
work as the mammoth, Elephas primigenius. From a mono 
graph on the proboscidians by Dr. Falconer, it appears that this 
species represents one extreme of a type of which the Pliocene 
Mastodon Borsoni represents the other. Between these 
extremes there are already enumerated by Dr. Falconer no 
less than twenty-six species, some of them ranging as far 
back in time as the Miocene period, others still living, like 
the Indian and African forms. Two of these species, how 
ever, he has always considered as doubtful, Stegodon Ganesa, 


probably a mere variety of one of the others, and Elephas 
priscus of Goldfuss, founded partly on specimens of the 
African elephant, assumed by mistake to be fossil, and partly 
on some aberrant forms of K antiquus. 

The first effect of the intercalation of so many interme 
diate forms between the two most divergent types, has been 
to break down almost entirely the generic distinction between 
Mastodon and Elephant. Dr. Falconer, indeed, observes that 
Stegodon (one of several subgenera which he has founded) 
constitutes an intermediate group, from which the other 
species diverge through their dental characters, on the one 
side into the Mastodons, and on the other into the 
Elephants.* The next result is to dimmish the distance 
between the several members of each of these groups. 

Dr. Falconer has discovered that no less than four species 
of elephant were formerly confounded together under the 
title of Elephas primigenius, whence its supposed ubiquity 
in post-pliocene times, or its wide range over half the 
habitable globe. But even when this form has been thus 
restricted in its specific characters, it has still its geographical 
varieties ; for the mammoth's teeth brought from America 
may in most instances, according to Dr. Falconer, be distin 
guished from those proper to Europe. On this American 
variety Dr. Leidy has conferred the name of E. Americanus. 
Another race of the same mammoth (as determined by 
Dr. Falconer) existed, as we have seen, before the glacial 
period, or at the time when the buried forest of Cromer and 
the Norfolk cliffs (see above, p. 216) was deposited ; and the 
Swiss geologists have lately found remains of the mammoth 
in their country, both in pre-glacial and post-glacial form 

Since the publication of Dr. Falconer's monograph, two other 

* Geological Quarterly Journal, vol. xiii. p. 314, 1857. 


species of elephant, E. mirificus, Leidy, and E. imperator, 
have been obtained from the Pliocene formations of the 
Niobrara Valley in Nebraska, t one of which, however, may 
possibly be found hereafter to be the same as E. Columbi, 
Falc. A remarkable dwarf species also (Eleplias Melitensis) 
has been discovered, belonging, like the existing E. Afri- 
canus, to the group Loxodon. This species has been esta 
blished by Dr. Falconer on remains found by Captain 
Spratt, E.K, in a cave in Malta.* 

How much the difficulty of discriminating between the 
fossil representatives of this genus may hereafter augment, 
when all the species with their respective geographical 
varieties are known, may be inferred from the following 
fact : Professor H. Schlegel, in a recently published memoir, 
endeavours to show that the living elephant of Sumatra 
agrees with that of Geylon, but is a distinct species from that 
of Continental India, being distinguishable by the number 
of its dorsal vertebrae and ribs, the form of its teeth, and 
other characteristics.! Dr. Falconer, on the other hand, 
considers these two living species as mere geographical 
varieties, the characters referred to not being constant, as 
he has ascertained, on comparing different individuals of 
E. Indicus in different parts of Bengal (in which the ribs 
vary from nineteen to twenty), and different varieties of 
E. Africanus, 

An enquiry into the various species of the genus Rhino 
ceros, recent and fossil, has led Dr. Falconer to analogous 
results, as might be inferred from what was said in 
Chapter X. (p. 173), and as a forthcoming memoir by 
the same writer will soon more fully demonstrate. 

Among the fossils brought in 1858 by Mr. Hayden from 

* Proceedings of the Geological f Schlegel, Natural Historical Ee- 
Society, London, 1862-, view, No. 5, p. 72, 1862. 


the Niobrara Valley, Dr. Leidy describes a rhinoceros so like 
the Asiatic species, R. Indicus, that he at first referred it to 
the same, and, what is most singular, he remarks generally of 
the Pliocene fauna of that part of North America, that it is 
far more related in character to the post-pliocene and recent 
fauna of Europe than to that now inhabiting the American 

It seems indeed more and more evident that when we 
speculate in future on the pedigree of any extinct quadruped 
which abounds in the drift or caverns of Europe, we shall 
have to look to North and South America as a principal 
source of information. Thirty years ago, if we had been search 
ing for fossil types which might fill up a gap between two 
species or genera of the horse tribe (or great family of the 
Solipedes), we might have thought it sufficient to have got 
together as ample materials as we could obtain from the 
continents of Europe, Africa, and Asia. We might have pre 
sumed that as no living representative of the equine famity, 
whether horse, ass, zebra, or quagga, had been furnished 
by North or South America when those regions were first 
explored by Europeans, a search in the transatlantic world for 
fossil species might be dispensed with. But how different 
is the prospect now opening before us ! Mr. Darwin first 
detected the remains of a fossil horse during his visit to 
South America, since which two other species have been met 
with on the same continent, while in North America, in the 
valley of the Nebraska alone, Mr. Hayden, besides a species 
not distinguishable from the domestic horse, has obtained, ac 
cording to Dr. Leidy, representatives of five other fossil genera 
of Solipedes. These he names, Hipparion, Protohippus, Mery- 
chippus, Hypohippus, and Parahippus. On the whole, no less 
than twelve equine species, belonging to seven genera (includ 
ing the Miocene Anchitherium of Nebraska), being already 


detected in the tertiary and post-tertiary formations of the 
United States** 

Professors linger f and Heer J have advocated, on botanical 
grounds, the former existence of an Atlantic continent during 
some part of the tertiary period, as affording the only plausible 
explanation that can be imagined, of the analogy between 
the Miocene flora of Central Europe and the existing flora of 
Eastern America. Professor Oliver, on the other hand, after 
showing how many of the American types found fossil in 
Europe are common to Japan, inclines to the theory, first 
advanced by Dr. Asa Gray, that the migration of species, to 
which the community of types in the Eastern States of North 
America and the Miocene flora of Europe is due, took place 
when there was an overland communication from America to 
Eastern Asia between the fiftieth and sixtieth parallels of 
latitude, or south of Behring's Straits, following the direction 
of the Aleutian islands. By this course they may have 
made their way, at any epoch, Miocene, Pliocene, or Post- 
pliocene, antecedently to the Grlacial epoch, to Amoorland, on 
the east coast of Northern Asia. 

We have already seen (p. 158) that the living quadrupeds 
of Amoorland are now nearly all specifically identical with 
those at present inhabiting the continent of Western Europe 
and the British Isles. 

A monograph on the hippopotamus, bear, ox, stag, or any 
other genus of mammalia common in the European drift or 
caverns, might equally well illustrate the defective state of 
the materials at present at our command. We are rarely in 
possession of one perfect skeleton of any extinct species, 
still less of skeletons of both sexes, and of different ages. 

* Proceedings of Academy of Natu- j Flora tertiaria Helvetiae/ 

ral Science, Philadelphia, for 1858, Oliver, Lecture at the Koyal In- 

p. 89. % Btitution, March 7, 1862. 

f Die versunkene Insel Atlantis. 


We usually know nothing of the geographical varieties of the 
post-pliocene and pliocene species, least of all, those successive 
changes of form which they must have undergone in the pre- 
glacial epoch between the upper miocene and post-pliocene 
eras. Such being the poverty of our palseontological data, 
we cannot wonder that osteologists are at variance as to 
whether certain remains found in caverns are of the same 
species as those now living ; whether, for example, the Talpa 
fossilis is really the common mole, the Meles morreni the 
common badger, Lutra antiqua the otter of Europe, Sciurus 
priscus the squirrel, Arctomys primigenia the marmot, 
Myoxus fossilis the dormouse, Schmerling's Felix Engihou- 
lensis the European lynx, or whether Ursus spelceus and 
Ursus priscus are not extinct races of the living brown bear 
( Ursus arctos). t 

If at some future period all the above-mentioned species 
should be united with their allied congeners, it cannot fail to 
enlarge our conception of the modifications which a species 
is capable of undergoing in the course of time, although the 
same form may appear absolutely immutable within the 
narrow range of our experience. 

Longevity of Species in the Mammalia. 

In the < Principles of Geology,' in 1833,* I stated that the 
longevity of species in the class mollusca exceeded that in 
the mammalia. It has been since found that this generalisa 
tion can be carried much farther, and that, in fact, the law 
which governs the changes in organic beings is such, that the 
lower their place in a graduated scale, or the simpler their 
structure, the more persistent are they in form and organisa 
tion. I soon became aware of the force of this rule in 
the class mollusca, when I first attempted to calculate the 

* 1st edit., vol. iii. pp. 48 and 140. 


numerical proportion of recent species in the newer pliocene 
formations as compared to the older pliocene, and of them 
again as contrasted with the miocene ; for it appeared invari 
ably that a greater number of the acephala or lamelli- 
branchiate bivalves could be identified with living species 
than of the gasteropods, and of these last a greater number 
in the lower division, that of entire-mouthed univalves, than 
in that of the siphonated. In whatever manner the changes 
have been brought about, whether by variation and natural 
selection, or by any other causes, the rate of change has been 
greater where the grade of organisation is higher. 

It is only, therefore, where there is a full representation of 
all the principal orders of mollusca, or when we compare 
those of corresponding grade, that we can fully rely on the per 
centage test, or on the proportion of recent to extinct species 
as indicating the relation of two groups to the existing fauna. 

The foraminifera which exemplify the lowest stage of 
animal existence, being akin to the sponges, are extremely 
persistent throughout vast periods of time in form and 
structure, as the researches of Messrs, Jones and Parker have 
lately shown. They exceed, in that respect, even the brachio- 
podous mollusca before mentioned, 

Dr. Hooker observes, in regard to plants of complex floral 
structure, that they manifest their physical superiority in a 
greater extent of variation, and in thus better securing a suc 
cession of race, an attribute which in some senses he regards 
as of a higher order than that indicated by mere complexity 
or specialisation of organ.* 

As one of the consequences of this law, he says that species, 
genera, and orders are, on the whole, best limited in plants 
of higher grade, the dicotyledons better than the monocoty 
ledons, and the dichlamydese better than the achlamydese. 

* Introductory Essay, &c., p. vii. 


Mr. Darwin remarks, 'We can, perhaps, understand the 
apparently quicker rate of change in terrestrial, and in more 
highly organised productions, compared with marine and 
lower productions, by the more complex relations of the 
higher beings to their organic and inorganic conditions of 

If we suppose the mammalia to be more sensitive than are 
the inferior classes of the vertebrata, to every fluctuation in 
the surrounding conditions, whether of the animate or inani 
mate world, it would follow that they would oftener be called 
upon to adapt themselves, by variation, to new conditions, or 
if unable to do so, to give place to other types, This would 
give rise to more frequent extinction of varieties, species, and 
genera, whereby the surviving types would be better limited, 
and the average duration of the same unaltered specific types 
would be lessened. 

Absence of Mammalia in Islands considered in Reference 
to Transmutation. 

But if mammalia vary, upon the whole, at a more rapid 
rate than animals lower in the scale of being, it must not be 
supposed that they can alter their habits and structures 
readily, or that they are convertible in short periods into new 
species. The extreme slowness with which such changes of 
habits and organisation take place, when new conditions 
arise, appears to be well exemplified by the absence even of 
small warm-blooded quadrupeds in islands far from continents, 
however well such islands may be fitted by their dimensions 
to support them. 

Mr. Darwin has pointed to this absence of mammalia as 
favouring his views, observing that bats, which are the only 

* Origin of Species, 3rd ed. p. 340. 


exceptions to the rule, might have made their way to distant 
islands by flight, for they are often met with on the wing far 
out at sea. Unquestionably, the total exclusion of quadru 
peds in general, which could only reach such isolated habita 
tions by swimming, seems to imply that nature does not 
dispense with the ordinary laws of reproduction when she 
peoples the earth with new forms ; for if causes purely imma 
terial were alone at work, we might naturally look for squirrels, 
rabbits, polecats, and other small vegetable feeders and 
beasts of prey, as often as for bats, in the spots alluded to. 

On the other hand, I have found it difficult to reconcile 
the antiquity of certain islands, such as those of the Madeiran 
Archipelago, and those of still larger size in the Canaries, 
with the total absence of small indigenous quadrupeds, for, 
judging by ancient deposits of littoral shells, now raised high 
above the level of the sea, several of these volcanic islands 
(Porto Santo and the Grand Canary among others), must 
have existed ever since the Upper Mrocene period. But, 
waiving all such claims to antiquity, it is at least certain 
that since the close of the Newer Pliocene period, Madeira 
and Porto Santo have constituted two separate islands, each 
in sight of the other, and each inhabited by an assemblage of 
land shells (helix, pupa, clausiliay &c.), for the most part 
different or proper to each island. About thirty-two fossil 
species have been obtained in Madeira, and forty-two in 
Porto Santo, only five of the whole being common to both 
islands. In each the living land-shells are equally distinct, and 
correspond, for the most part, with the species found fossil in 
each island respectively. 

Among the seventy-two species, two or three appear to be 
entirely extinct, and a larger number have disappeared from 
the fauna of the Madeiran Archipelago, though still extant in 
Africa and Europe. Many which were amongst the most 
common in the Newer Pliocene period, have now become the 


scarcest, and others formerly scarce, are now most numerously 
represented. The variety-making force has been at work 
with such energy, perhaps we ought to say, has had so much 
time for its development, that almost every isolated rock 
within gun-shot of the shores has its peculiar living forms, or 
those very marked races to which Mr. Lowe, in his excellent 
description of the fauna, has given the name of f sub-species.' 
Since the fossil shells were embedded in sand near the 
coast, these volcanic islands have undergone considerable 
alterations in size and shape by the wasting action of the 
waves of the Atlantic beating incessantly against the cliffs, so 
that the evidence of a vast lapse oftime is derivable from 
inorganic as well as from organic phenomena. 

During this period no mammalia, not even of small species, 
excepting bats, have made their appearance, whether in 
Madeira and Porto-Santo or in the larger and more numerous 
islands of the Canarian group. It might have been expected, 
from some expressions met with here and there in the " Origin 
of Species," though not perhaps from a fair interpretation of 
tlie whole tenor of the author's reasoning, that this dearth of the 
highest class of vertebrata is inconsistent with the powers of 
mammalia to accommodate their habits and structures to new 
conditions. Why did not some of the bats, for example, after 
they had greatly multiplied, and were hard pressed by a 
scarcity of insects on the wing, betake themselves to the 
ground in search of prey, and, gradually losing their wings, 
become transformed into non-volant insectivora ? Mr. Darwin 
tells me that he has learnt that there is a bat in India which 
has been known occasionally to devour frogs. One might also 
be tempted to ask, how it has happened that the seals which 
swarmed on the shores of Madeira and the Canaries, before the 
European colonists arrived there, were never induced, when 
food was scarce in the sea, to venture inland from the shores, 
and begin in Teneriffe, and the Grand Canary especially, and 


other large islands, to acquire terrestrial habits, venturing first 
a few yards inland, and then farther and farther until they 
began to occupy some of those " places left vacant in the 
economy of nature." During these excursions, we might 
suppose some varieties, which had the skin of the webbed 
intervals of their toes less developed, to succeed best in walk 
ing on the land, and in the course of several generations they 
might exchange their present gait or manner of shuffling 
along and jumping by aid of the tail and their fin-like ex 
tremities, for feet better adapted for running. 

It is said that one of the bats in the island of Palma (one 
of the Canaries) is of a peculiar species, and that some of the 
Cheiroptera of the Pacific islands (or Oceanica) are even of 
peculiar genera. If so, we seem, on organic as well as on 
geological grounds, to be precluded from arguing that there 
has not been time for great divergence of character. We 
seem also entitled to ask why the bats and rodents of 
Australia, which are spread so widely among the marsupials 
over that continent, have never, under the influence of the 
principle of progression, been developed into the higher or 
placental type, since we have now ascertained that that 
continent was by no means unfitted to sustain such mammalia, 
for these, when once introduced by man, have run wild and 
become naturalised in many parts. The following answers 
may perhaps be offered to the above criticisms of some of 
Mr. Darwin's theoretical views. 

First, as to the bats and seals : they are what zoologists 
call aberrant and highly specialised types, and therefore 
precisely those which might be expected to display a fixity, 
and want of pliancy in their organisation, or the smallest pos 
sible aptitude for deviating in new directions towards new 
structures, and the acquisition of such altered habits as a 
change from aquatic to terrestrial or from volant to non- 
volant modes of living would imply. 


Secondly, the same powers of flight which enabled the first 
bats to reach Madeira or the Canaries, would bring others 
from time to time from the African continent, which, mixing 
with the first emigrants and crossing with them, would check 
the formation of new races, or keep them true to the old 
types, as is found to be actually the case with the birds of 
Madeira and the Bermudas. 

This would happen the more surely, if, as Mr. Darwin has 
endeavoured to prove, the offspring of races slightly varying 
are usually more vigorous than the progeny of parents of 
the same race, and would be more prolific, therefore, than the 
insular stock which had been for a long time breeding in 
and in. 

The same cause would tend in a still more decided manner 
to prevent the seals from diverging into new races or ( incipient 
species,' because they range freely over the wide ocean, and, 
may therefore have continual intercourse with all other indi 
viduals of their species. 

Thirdly, as to peculiar species, and even genera of bats 
in islands, we are perhaps too little acquainted at present 
with all the species and genera of the neighbouring continents 
to be able to affirm, with any degree of confidence, that the 
forms supposed to be peculiar do not exist elsewhere : those 
of the Canaries in Africa, for example. But what is still 
more important, we must bear in mind how many species 
and genera of post-pliocene mammalia have ever}^ where 
become extinct by causes independent of Man. It is always 
possible, therefore, that some types of cheiroptera, originally 
derived from the main land, have survived in islands, although 
they have gradually died out on the continents from whence 
they came ; so that it would be rash to infer that there has 
been time for the creation, whether by variation or other 
agency, of new species or genera in the islands in question. 

As to the rodents and cheiroptera of Australia, we are as 


yet too ignorant of the post-pliocene and newer pliocene 
fauna of that part of the world, to be able to decide whether 
the introduction of such forms dates from a remote geological 
time. We know, however, that, before the recent period, that 
continent was peopled with large kangaroos, and other her 
bivorous, and carnivorous marsupials, of species long since 
extinct, their remains having been discovered in ossiferous 
caverns. The preoccupaney of the country by such indigenous 
tribes may have checked the development of the placental 
rodents and cheiroptera, even were we to concede the pos 
sibility of such forms being convertible by variation and 
progressive development into higher grades of mammalia. 

Imperfection of the geological record, 

When treating in the 8th Chapter * of the dearth of human 
bones in alluvium containing flint implements in abundance, 
I pointed out that it is not part of the plan of Nature to write 
everywhere, and at all times, her autobiographical memoirs. 
On the contrary, her annals are local and exceptional from 
the first, and portions of them are afterwards ground into 
mud, sand, and pebbles, to furnish materials for new strata. 
Even of those ancient monuments now forming the crust of 
the earth, which have not been destroyed by rivers and the 
waves of the sea, or which have escaped being melted by 
volcanic heat, three-fourths lie submerged beneath the ocean, 
and are inaccessible to man ; while of those which form the 
dry land, a great part are hidden for ever from our observa 
tion by mountain masses, thousands of feet thick, piled over 

Mr, Darwin has truly said that the fossiliferous rocks 
known to geologists consist, for the most part, of such as 

* Page 144 to 149. 


were formed when the bottom of the sea was subsiding. 
This downward movement protects the new deposits from 
denudation, and allows them to accumulate to a great thick 
ness ; whereas sedimentary ma.tter, thrown down where the 
sea-bottom is rising, must almost invariably be swept away 
by the waves as fast as the land emerges. 

When we reflect, therefore, on the fractional state of the 
annals which are handed down to us, and how little even these 
have as yet been studied, we may wonder that so many geo 
logists should attribute every break in the series of strata, 
and every gap in the past history of the organic world, to 
catastrophes and convulsions of the earth's crust, or to leaps 
made by the creational force from species to species, or from 
class to class. For it is clear that, even had the series of 
monuments been perfect and continuous at first (an hypo 
thesis quite opposed to the analogy of the working of causes 
now in action), it could not fail to present itself to our eyes 
in a broken and disconnected state. 

Those geologists who have watched the progress of dis 
covery during the last half century, can best appreciate the 
extent to which we may still hope by future exertion to fill 
up some of the wider chasms which now interrupt the 
regular sequence of fossiliferous rocks. The determination, 
for example, of late years of the true place of the Hallstadt 
and St. Cassian beds on the N. and S. flanks of the Austrian 
Alps, has revealed to us, for the first time, the marine fauna 
of a period (that of the Upper Trias) of which, until lately, 
but little was known. In this case, the palaeontologist is called 
upon suddenly to intercalate about 800 species of mollusca 
and radiata, between the fauna of the Lower Lias and that of 
the Middle Trias. The period in question was previously 
believed, even by many a philosophical geologist, to have been 
comparatively barren of organic types. In England, France, 
and Northern Germany, the only known strata of Upper 

G G 


Triassic date had consisted almost entirely of fresh or 
brackish-water beds, in which the bones of terrestrial and 
amphibious reptiles were the most characteristic fossils. 
The new fauna was, as might have been expected, in part 
peculiar, not a few of the species of mollusca being referable 
to new genera ; while some species were common to the 
older, and some to the newer rocks. On the whole, the new 
forms have helped greatly to lessen the discordance, not only 
between the lias and trias, but also generally between paleo 
zoic and neozoic formations. Thus the genus Orthoceras has 
been for the first time recognised in a neozoic deposit, and 
with it we find associated, for the first time, large ammonites 
with foliated lobes, a form never seen before below the lias ; 
also the Ceratite, a family of cephalopods never before met 
with above the muschelkalk or middle trias, and never before 
in the same stratum with such lobed ammonites. 

We can now no longer doubt, that should we hereafter have 
an opportunity of studying an equally rich marine fauna of 
the age of the lower trias (or bunter sandstein), the marked 
hiatus which still separates the Triassic and Permian eras 
would almost disappear. , * 

Archceopteryx macrurus, Owen. I could readily add a 
copious list of minor deposits, belonging to the primary, 
secondary, and tertiary series, which we have been called 
upon in like manner to intercalate in the course of the 
last quarter of a century into the chronological series pre 
viously known ; but it would lead me into too long a digres 
sion. I shall therefore content myself with pointing out 
that it is not simply new formations which are brought 
to light from year to year, reminding us of the elementary 
state of our knowledge of paleontology, but new types also 
of structure are discovered in rocks, the fossil contents of 
which were supposed to be peculiarly well known. 


The last and most striking of these novelties is c the 
feathered fossil' from the lithographic stone of Solon- -/ Ap* M J 

Until the year 1858, no well-determined skeleton of a bird 
had been detected in any rocks older than the tertiary. In 
that year, Mr. Lucas Barrett found in the upper greensand 
of the cretaceous series, near Cambridge, the femur, tibia, 
and some other bones of a swimming bird, supposed by him 
to be of the gull tribe. His opinion as to the ornithic 
character of the remains was afterwards confirmed by 
Professor Owen. 

The Archceopteryx macrurus, Owen, recently acquired by 
the British Museum, affords a second example of the dis 
covery of the osseous remains of a bird in strata older than 
the Eocene. It was found in, the great quarries of litho 
graphic limestone at Pappenheim, near Solenhofen in 
Bavaria, the rock being a member of the Upper Oolite. 

It was at first conjectured in Germany, before any ex 
perienced osteologist had had an opportunity of inspecting 
the original specimen, that this fossil might be a feathered 
pterodactyl, (flying reptiles having been often met with in 
the same stratum,) or that it might at least supply some 
connecting links between a reptile and a bird. But Pro 
fessor Owen, in a memoir lately read to the Eoyal Society, 
(November 20, 1862,) has shown that it is unequivocally a 
bird, and that such of its characters as are abnormal are by 
no means strikingly reptilian. The skeleton was lying on 
its back when embedded in calcareous sediment, so that the 
ventral part is exposed to view. It is about one foot eight 
inches long, and one foot four across, from the apex of the 
right to that of the left wing. The furculum, or merry 
thought, which is entire, marks the fore part of the trunk ; 
the ischium, scapula, and most of the wing and leg bones 
are preserved, and there are impressions of the quill feathers 

G G 2 


and of down on the body. The veins and shafts of the fea 
thers can be seen by the naked eye. Fourteen long quill 
feathers diverge on each side of the metacarpal and phalangial 
bones, and decrease in length from six inches to one inch. 
The wings have a general resemblance to those of gallinaceous 
birds. The tarso-metatarsal, or drumstick, exhibits at its 
distal end a trifid articular surface supporting three .toes, as 
in birds. The furculum, pelvis, and bones of the tail are in 
their natural position. The tail consists of twenty vertebrae, 
each of which supports a pair ,of plumes. The length of the 
tail with its feathers is eleven and a half inches, and its 
breadth three and a half. It is obtusely truncated at the 
end. In all living birds the tail-feathers are arranged in 
fan-shaped order and attached to a coccygean bone, consisting 
of several vertebrae united together, whereas in the embryo 
state these same vertebrae are distinct. The greatest number 
is seen in the ostrich, which has eighteen caudal vertebrae in 
the foetal state, which are reduced to nine in the adult 
bird, many of them having been anchylosed together. Pro 
fessor Owen therefore considers the tail of the Archasopteryx 
as exemplifying the persistency of what is now an embryonic 
character. The tail, he remarks, is essentially a variable 
character. There are long-tailed bats and short-tailed bats, 
long-tailed rodents and short-tailed rodents, long-tailed 
pterodactyls and short-tailed pterodactyls. 

The Archseopteryx differs from all known birds, not only in 
the structure of its tail, but in having two, if not three digits 
in the hand ; but there is no trace of the fifth digit of the 
winged reptile. 

The conditions under which the skeleton occurs are such, 
says Professor Owen, as to remind us of the carcass of a gull 
which had been a prey to some Carnivore, which had re 
moved all the soft parts, and perhaps the head, nothing 
being left but the bony legs and the indigestible quill- 


feathers. But since Professor Owen's paper was read, Mr. 
John Evans, whom I have often had occasion to mention in 
the earlier chapters of this work, seems to have found what 
may indicate a part of the missing cranium. He has called 
our attention to a smooth protuberance on the otherwise even 
surface of the slab of limestone which seems to be the cast of 
the brain or interior of the skull. Some part even of the 
cranial bone itself appears to be still buried in the matrix. 
Mr. Evans has pointed out the resemblance of this cast to 
one taken by himself from the cranium of a crow, and still 
more to that of a jay, observing that in the fossil the median 
line which separates the two hemispheres of the brain is 

To conclude, we may learn from this valuable relic how 
rashly the existence of Birds at the epoch of the Secondary 
rocks has been questioned, simply on negative evidence, and 
secondly, how many new forms may be expected to be brought 
to light in strata with which we are already best acquainted, 
to say nothing of the new formations which geologists are 
continually discovering. 














THE supposed existence, at a remote and unknown period, 
of a language conventionally called the Aryan, has of 
late years been a favourite subject of speculation among 
German philologists, and Professor Max Miiller has given us 
lately the most improved version of this theory, and has set 
forth the various facts and arguments by which it may be 
defended, with his usual perspicuity and eloquence. He 
observes that if we knew nothing of the existence of Latin, 
if all historical documents previous to the fifteenth 
century had been lost, if tradition even was silent as to the 
former existence of a Roman empire, a mere comparison of 
the Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Wallachian, and 
RhaBtian dialects would enable us to say that at some time 
there must have been a language, from which these six 
modern dialects derive their origin in common. Without 


this supposition it would be impossible to account for their 
structure and composition, as, for example, for the forms of 
the auxiliary verb ( to be,' all evidently varieties of one 
common type, while it is equally clear that no one of the six 
affords the original form from which the others could have 
been borrowed. So also in none of the six languages do we 
find the elements of which these verbal and other forms 
could have been composed ; they must have been handed 
down as relics from a former period, they must have existed 
in some antecedent language, which we know to have been 
the Latin. 

But, in like manner, he goes on to show, that Latin itself, 
as well as Greek, Sanscrit, Zend (or Bactrian), Lithuanian, 
old Sclavonic, Gothic, and Armenian are also eight varieties 
of one common and more ancient type, and no one of them 
could have been the original from which the others were 
borrowed. They have all such an amount of mutual resem 
blance, as to point to a more ancient language, the Aryan, 
which was to them what Latin was to the six Romance 
languages. The people who spoke this unknown parent 
speech, of which so many other ancient tongues were off 
shoots, must have migrated at a remote era to widely sepa 
rated regions of the old world, such as Northern Asia, 
Europe., and India south of the Himalaya.* 

The soundness of some parts of this Aryan hypothesis has 
lately been called in question by Mr, Crawfurd, on the 
ground that the Hindoos, Persians, Turks, Scandinavians, 
and other people referred to as having derived not only 
words but grammatical forms from an Aryan source, belong 
each of them to a distinct race, and all these races have, it is 
said, preserved their peculiar characters unaltered from the 
earliest dawn of history and tradition. If, therefore, no 

* Max Miiller, Comparative Mythology. Oxford Essays, 1856. 


appreciable change has occurred in three or four thousand 
years, we should be obliged to assume a far more remote date 
for the first branching off of such races from a common stock 
than the supposed period of the Aryan migrations, and the 
dispersion of that language over many and distant countries. 

But Mr. Crawfurd haSj I think, himself helped us to 
remove this stumbling-block, by admitting that a nation 
speaking a language allied to the Sanscrit (the oldest of the 
eight tongues alluded to), once probably inhabited that 
region situated to the north-west of India, which within the 
period of authentic history has poured out its conquering 
hordes over a great extent of Western Asia and Eastern 
Europe. The same people, he says, may have acted the 
same part in the long, dark night which preceded the dawn 
of tradition** These conquerors may have been few in 
number when compared to the populations which they 
subdued. In such cases the new settlers, although reckoned 
by tens of thousands, might merge in a few centuries into the 
millions of subjects which they ruled. It is an acknowledged 
fact, that the colour and features of the Negro or European are 
entirely lost in the fourth generation, provided that no fresh 
infusion of one or other of the two races takes place. The 
distinctive physical features, therefore, of the Aryan con 
querors might soon wear out and be lost in those of the 
nations they overran ; yet many of the words, and, what is 
more in point, some of the grammatical forms of their lan 
guage, might be retained by the masses which they had 
governed for centuries, these masses continuing to preserve 
the same features of race which had distinguished them long 
before the Aryan invasions. 

There can be no question that if we could trace back any 
set of cognate languages now existing to some common point 

* Crawfurd, Transactions of the Ethnological Society, vol. i. 1861. 


of departure, they would converge and meet sooner in some 
era of the past than would the existing races of mankind ; 
in other words, races change much more slowly than lan 
guages. But, according to the doctrine of transmutation, to 
form a new species would take an incomparably longer 
period than to form a new race. No language seems ever 
to last for a thousand years, whereas many a species seems to 
have endured for hundreds of thousands. A philologist, there 
fore, who is contending that all living languages are derivative 
and not primordial, has a great advantage over a naturalist 
who is endeavouring to inculcate a similar theory in regard 
to species. 

It may not be uninstructive, in order fairly to appreciate 
the vast difficulty of the task of those who advocate trans 
mutation in natural history, to consider how hard it would 
be even for a philologist to succeed, if he should try to 
convince an assemblage of intelligent but illiterate persons 
that the language spoken by them, and all those talked by 
contemporary nations, were modern inventions, moreover 
that these same forms of speech were still constantly under 
going change, and none of them destined to last for ever. 

We will suppose him to begin by stating his conviction, 
that the living languages have been gradually derived from 
others now extinct, and spoken by nations which had imme 
diately preceded them in the order of time, and that those 
again had used forms of speech derived from still older ones. 
They might naturally exclaim, ( How strange it is that you 
should find records of a multitude of dead languages, that a 
part of the human economy which in our own time is so 
remarkable for its stability, should have been so inconstant in 
bygone ages ! We all speak as our parents and grandparents 
spoke before us, and so, we are told, do the Grermans and 
French. What evidence is there of such incessant variation 
in remoter times ? and, if it be true, why not imagine that 


when one form of speech was lost, another was suddenly and 
supernaturally created by a gift of tongues or confusion of 
languages, as at the building of the Tower of Babel ? Where 
are the memorials of all the intermediate dialects which 
must have existed, if this doctrine of perpetual fluctuation 
be true ? And how comes it that the tongues now spoken 
do not pass by insensible gradations the one into the other, 
and into the dead languages of dates immediately antecedent ? 

6 Lastly, if this theory of indefinite modifiability be sound, 
what meaning can be attached to the term language, and 
what definition can be given of it so as to distinguish a 
language from a dialect ? ' 

In reply to this last question, the philologist might confess 
that the learned are not agreed as to what constitutes a lan 
guage as distinct from a dialect. Some believe that there 
are 4,000 living languages, others that there are 6,000, so 
that the mode of defining them is clearly a mere matter of 
opinion. Some contend, for example, that the Danish, 
Norwegian, and Swedish form one Scandinavian tongue, 
others that they constitute three different languages, others 
that the Danish and Norwegian are one, mere dialects of the 
same language, but that Swedish is distinct. 

The philologist, however, might fairly argue that this very 
ambiguity was greatly in favour of his doctrine, since if lan 
guages had all been constantly undergoing transmutation, 
there ought often to be a want of real lines of demarcation 
between them. He might, however, propose that he and his 
pupils should come to an understanding that two languages 
should be regarded as distinct whenever the speakers of them 
are unable to converse together, or freely to exchange ideas, 
whether by word or writing. Scientifically speaking, such a 
test might be vague and unsatisfactory, like the test of species 
by their capability of producing fertile hybrids ; but if the 
pupil is persuaded that there are such things in nature as 


distinct languages, whatever may have been their origin, 
the definition above suggested might be of practical use, and 
enable the teacher to proceed with his argument. 

He might begin by undertaking to prove that none of the 
languages of modern Europe were a thousand years old. 
No English scholar, he might say, who has not specially 
given himself up to the study of Anglo-Saxon, can interpret 
the documents in which the chronicles and laws of England 
were written in the days of King Alfred, so that we may be 
sure that none of the English of the nineteenth century 
could converse with the subjects of that monarch if these last 
could now be restored to life. The difficulties encountered 
would not arise merely from the intrusion of French terms, 
in consequence of the Norman conquest, because that portion 
of our language (nearly three-fourths of the whole) which is 
Saxon has also undergone great transformations by abbrevia 
tion, new modes of pronunciation, spelling, and various 
corruptions, so as to be unlike both ancient and modern 
German. They who now speak German, if brought into contact 
with their Teutonic ancestors of the ninth century, would be 
quite unable to converse with them, and, in like manner, the 
subjects of Charlemagne could not have exchanged ideas with 
the Goths of Alaric's army, or with the soldiers of Armimus 
in the days of Augustus Csesar. So rapid indeed has been the 
change in Germany, that the epic poem called the Nibelungen 
Lied, once so popular, and only seven centuries .old, cannot 
now be enjoyed, except by the erudite. 

If we then turn to France, we meet again with similar 
evidence of ceaseless change. Chevalier Pertz has printed a 
treaty of peace a thousand years old, between Charles the' 
Bald and King Louis of Germany (dated A.D. 841), in which 
the German king takes an oath in what was the French 
tongue of that day, while the French king swears in the 
German of the same era, and neither of these oaths would now 


convey a distinct meaning to any but the learned in these 
two countries. So also in Italy, the modern Italian cannot 
be traced back much beyond the time of Dante, or some six 
centuries before our time. Even in Kome, where there had 
been no permanent intrusion of foreigners, such as the 
Lombard settlers of German origin in the plains of the Po, 
the common people of the year 1000 spoke quite a distinct 
language from that of their JRoman ancestors or their Italian 
descendants, as- is shown by the celebrated chronicle of the 
monk Benedict, of the convent of St. Andrea on Mount 
Soracte, written in such barbarous Latin, and with such 
strange grammatical forms, that it requires a profoundly 
skilled linguist to decipher it-* 

Having thus established the preliminary fact^ that none of 
the tongues now spoken were in existence ten centuries ago, 
and that the ancient languages have passed through many a 
transitional dialect before they settled into the forms now in 
use, the philologist might bring forward proofs of the great 
numbers both of lost and living forms of speech. 

Strabo informs us that in his time, in the Caucasus alone 
(a chain of mountains not longer than the Alps, and much 
narrower), there were spoken at least seventy languages. 
At the present period the number, it is said, would be still 
greater, if all the distinct dialects of those mountains were 
reckoned. Several of these Caucasian tongues admit of no 
comparison with any known living or lost Asiatic or European 
language. Others which are not peculiar are obsolete forms 
of known languages, such as the Georgian, Mongolian, Per 
sian, Arabic, and Tartarian. It seems that as often as con 
quering hordes swept over that part of Asia, always coming 
from the north and east, they drove before them the inha 
bitants of the plains,' who took refuge in some of the retired 

* See G-. Pertz, Monumenta Germanica, vol. iii. 


valleys and high mountain fastnesses, where they maintained 
their independence, as do the Circassians in our time, in 
spite of the power of Kussia, 

In the Himalayan Mountains, from Assam to its extreme 
north-rwestern limit, and generally in the more hilly parts of 
British India, the diversity of languages is surprisingly great, 
impeding the advance of civilisation and the labours of the 
missionary. In South America and Mexico, Alexander Hum- 
boldt reckoned the distinct tongues by hundreds, and those 
of Africa are said to be equally numerous. Even in China, 
some eighteen provincial dialects prevail, almost all deviat 
ing so much from others that the speakers are not mutually 
intelligible, and besides these there are other distinct forms 
of speech in the mountains of the same empire. 

The philologist might next proceed to point out that the 
geographical relations of living and dead languages favour 
the hypothesis of the living ones having been derived from 
the extinct, in spite of our inability, in most instances, to 
adduce documentary evidence of the fact or to discover 
monuments of all the intermediate and transitional dialects 
which must have existed. Thus he would observe that the 
modern Romance languages are spoken exactly where the 
ancient Romans once lived or ruled, and the Greek of our 
days where the older classical Greek was formerly spoken. 
Exceptions to this rule might be detected, but they would be 
explicable by reference to colonisation and conquest. 

As to the many and wide gaps sometimes encountered 
between the dead and living languages, we must remember 
that it is not part of the plan of any people to preserve 
memorials of their forms of speech expressly for the edifica 
tion of posterity. Their MSS. and inscriptions serve some 
present purpose, are occasional and imperfect from the first, 
and are rendered more fragmentary in the course of time, 
some being intentionally destroyed, others lost by the decay 


of the perishable materials on which they are written; so 
that to question the theory of all known languages being 
derivative on the ground that we can rarely trace a passage 
from the ancient to the modern through all the dialects 
which must have flourished one after the other in the inter 
mediate ages, implies a want of reflection on the laws which 
govern the recording as well as the obliterating processes. 

But another important question still remains to be con 
sidered, namely, whether the trifling changes which can alone 
be witnessed by a single generation, can possibly represent 
the working of that machinery which, in the. course of many 
centuries, has given rise to such mighty revolutions in the 
forms of speech throughout the world. Every one may have 
noticed in his own lifetime the stealing in of some slight 
alterations of accent, pronunciation or spelling, or the intro 
duction of some words borrowed from a foreign language to 
express ideas of which no native term precisely conveyed the 
import. He may also remember hearing for the first time 
some cant terms or slang phrases, which have since forced 
their way into common use, in spite of the efforts of the purist. 
But he may still contend that, ' within the range of his 
experience,' his language has continued unchanged, and he 
may believe in its immutability in spite of minor variations. 
The real question, however, at issue is, whether there are any 
limits to this variability. He will find on further investi 
gation, that new technical terms are coined almost daily in 
various arts, sciences, professions, and trades, that new names 
must be found for new inventions, that many of these acquire 
a metaphorical sense, and then make their way into general 
circulation, as f stereotyped,' for instance, which would have 
been as meaningless to the men of the seventeenth century 
as would the new terms and images derived from steamboat 
and railway travelling to the men of the eighteenth. 

If the numerous words, idioms, and phrases, many of them 


of ephemeral duration, which are thus invented by the young 
and old in various classes of society, in the nursery, the 
school, the camp, the fleet, the courts of law and the school, 
and the study of the man of science or literature, could all be 
collected together and put on record, their number in one or 
two centuries might compare with the entire permanent 
vocabulary of the language. It becomes, therefore, a curious 
subject of enquiry, what are the laws which govern not only 
the invention, but also the ( selection ' of some of these words 
or idioms, giving them currency in preference to others ? for 
as the powers of the human memory are limited, a check must 
be found to the endless increase and multiplication of terms, 
and old words must be dropped nearly as fast as new ones 
are put into circulation. Sometimes the new word or phrase, 
or a modification of the old ones, will entirely supplant the 
more ancient expressions, or, instead of the latter being 
discarded, both may flourish together, the older one having 
a more restricted use. 

Although the speakers may be unconscious that any great 
fluctuation is going on in their language, although when we 
observe the manner in which new words and phrases are 
thrown out, as if at random or in sport, while others get into 
vogue, we may think the process of change to be the result 
of mere chance, there are nevertheless fixed laws in action, 
by which, in the general struggle for existence, some terms 
and dialects gain the victory over others. The slightest 
advantage attached to some new mode of pronouncing or 
spelling, from considerations of brevity or euphony, may turn 
the scale, or more powerful causes of selection may decide 
which of two or more rivals shall triumph and which suc 
cumb. Among these are fashion, or the influence of an aris 
tocracy, whether of birth or education, popular writers, 
orators, preachers, a centralised government organising its 
schools expressly to promote uniformity of diction, and to 


get the better of provincialisms and local dialects. Between 
these dialects, which may be regarded as so many ' incipient 
languages,' the competition is always keenest when they are 
most nearly allied, and the extinction of any one of them 
destroys some of the links by which a dominant tongue may 
have been previously connected with some other widely distinct 
one. It is by the perpetual loss of such intermediate forms 
of speech that the great dissimilarity of the languages which 
survive is brought about. Thus, if Dutch should become a 
dead language, English and German would be separated by 
a wider gap. 

Some languages which are spoken by millions, and spread 
over a wide area, will endure much longer than others which 
have never had a wide range, especially if the tendency to 
incessant change in one of these dominant tongues is arrested 
for a time by a standard literature. But even this source of 
stability is insecure, for popular writers themselves are great 
innovators, sometimes coining new words, and still oftener 
new expressions and idioms, to embody their own original 
conceptions and sentiments, or some peculiar modes of 
thought and feeling characteristic of their age. Even when 
a language is regarded with superstitious veneration as the 
vehicle of divine truths and religious precepts, and which has 
prevailed for many generations, it will be incapable of per 
manently maintaining its ground. Hebrew had ceased to be 
a living language before the Christian era. Sanscrit, the 
sacred language of the Hindoos, shared the same fate, in 
spite of the veneration in which the Vedas are still held, and 
in spite of many a Sanscrit poem once popular and national. 

The Christians of Constantinople and the Morea still hear 
the New Testament and their liturgy read in ancient Greek, 
while they speak a dialect in which Paul might have preached 
in vain at Athens. So in the Eoman Catholic Church, the 
Italians pray in one tongue and talk another. Luther's trans- 


lation of the Bible acted as a powerful cause of ' selection/ 
giving at once to one of many competing dialects (that of 
Saxony) a prominent and dominant position in Germany; 
but the style of Luther has, like that of our English Bible, 
already become somewhat antiquated. 

If the doctrine of gradual transmutation be applicable to 
languages, all those spoken in historical times must each of 
them have had a closely allied prototype ; and accordingly, 
whenever we can thoroughly investigate their history, we 
find in them some internal evidence of successive additions 
by the invention of new words or the modification of old 
ones. Proofs also of borrowing are discernible, letters being 
retained in the spelling of some words which have no longer 
any meaning as they are now pronounced, no connection 
with any corresponding sounds. Such redundant or silent 
letters, once useful in the parent speech, have been aptly 
compared by Mr. Darwin to rudimentary organs in living 
beings, which, as he interprets them, have at some former 
period been more fully developed, having had their proper 
functions to perform in the organisation of a remote pro 

If all known languages are derivative and not primordial 
creations, they must each of them have been slowly elaborated 
in a single geographical area. No one of them can have had 
two birthplaces. If one were carried by a colony to a distant 
region, it would immediately begin to vary unless frequent 
intercourse was kept up with the mother country. The 
descendants of the same stock, if perfectly isolated, would in 
five or six centuries, perhaps sooner, be quite unable to 
converse with those who remained at home, or with those 
who may have migrated to some distant region, where they 
were shut out from all communication with others speaking 
the same tongue. 

A Norwegian colony which settled in Iceland in the ninth 
century, maintained its independence for about 400 years. 

H H 


during which time the old Grothic which they at first spoke 
became corrupted and considerably modified. In the mean 
time the natives of Norway, who had enjoyed much com 
mercial intercourse with the rest of Europe, acquired quite a 
new speech, and looked on the Icelandic as having been 
stationary, and as representing, the pure Grothic original of 
which their own was an off-shoot. 

A Grerman colony in Pennsylvania was cut off from 
frequent communication with Europe for about a quarter of 
a century, during the wars of the French Kevolution between 
1792 and 1815. So marked had been the effect even of this 
brief and imperfect isolation, that when Prince Bernhard of 
Saxe Weimar travelled among them a few years after the 
peace, he found the peasants speaking as they had done in 
Grermany in the preceding century,* and retaining a dialect 
which at home had already become obsolete. 

Even after the renewal of the Grerman emigration from 
Europe, when I travelled in 1841 among the same people in 
the retired valleys of the Alleghanies, I found the newspapers 
full of terms half English and half Grerman, and many an 
Anglo-Saxon word which had assumed a Teutonic dress, as 
6 fencen,' to fence, instead of umzaunen, ' flauer ' for flour, 
instead of mehl, and so on. What with the retention of 
terms no longer in use in the mother country, and the 
borrowing of new ones from neighbouring states, there might 
have arisen in Pennsylvania in five or six generations, but 
for the influx of new comers from Grermany, a mongrel 
speech equally unintelligible to the Anglo-Saxon and to the 
inhabitants of the European fatherland. 

If languages resemble species in having had each their 
6 specific centre ' or single area of creation, in which they have 
been slowly formed, so each of them is alike liable to slow or 

* Travels of Prince Bernhard of Saxe Weimar, in North America, in 1825 
and 1826, p. 123. 


to sudden extinction. They may die out very gradually in 
consequence of transmutation, or abruptly by the extermi 
nation of the last surviving representatives of the unaltered 
type. We know in what century the last Dodo perished, 
and we know that in the seventeenth century the language 
of the Red Indians of Massachusetts, into which Father 
Eliot had translated the Bible, and in which Christianity 
was preached for several generations, ceased to exist, the last 
individuals by whom it was spoken having at that period 
died without issue.* But if just before that event the white 
man had retreated from the continent, or had been swept off 
by an epidemic, those Indians might soon have repeopled 
the wilderness, and their copious vocabulary and peculiar 
forms of expression might have lasted without important 
modification to this day. The extinction, however, of lan 
guages in general is not abrupt, any more than that of 
species. It will also be evident from what has been said, 
that a language which has once died out can never be 
revived, since the same assemblage of conditions can never 
be restored even among the descendants of the same stock, 
much less simultaneously among all the surrounding nations 
with whom they may be in contact. 

We may compare the persistency of languages, or the 
tendency of each generation to adopt without change the 
vocabulary of its predecessor, to the force of inheritance in 
the organic world, which causes the offspring to resemble its 
parents. The inventive power which coins new words or 
modifies old ones, and adapts them to new wants and con 
ditions as often as these arise, answers to the variety-making 
power in the animate creation. 

Progressive improvement in language is a necessary con 
sequence of the progress of the human mind from one gene 
ration to another. As civilisation advances, a greater number 
* Lyell, Travels in North America, vol. i, p. 260. 1845. 

H H 2 


of terms are required to express abstract ideas, and words 
previously used in a vague sense, so long as the state of 
society was rude and barbarous, gradually acquire more 
precise and definite meanings, in consequence of which 
several terms must be employed to express ideas and things, 
which a single word had before signified, though somewhat 
loosely and imperfectly. 

The farther this subdivision of function is carried, the 
more complete and perfect the language becomes, just as 
species of higher grade have special organs, such as eyes, 
lungs, and stomach, for seeing, breathing, and digesting, which 
in simpler organisms are all performed by one and the same 
part of the body.* 

When we have satisfied ourselves that all the existing lan 
guages, instead of being primordial creations, or the direct 
gifts of a supernatural Power, have been slowly elaborated, 
partly by the modification of pre-existing dialects, partly by 
borrowing terms at successive periods from numerous foreign 
sources, and partly by new inventions made some of them 
deliberately, and some casually and as it were fortuitously, 
when we have discovered the principal causes of selection, 
which have guided the adoption or rejection of rival names 
for the same things and ideas, rival modes of pronouncing 
the same words and provincial dialects competing one with 
another, we are still very far from comprehending all the 
laws which have governed the formation of each language. 

It was a profound saying of William Humboldt, that 
4 Man is man only by means of speech, but in order to invent 
speech he must be already man.' Other animals may be 
able to utter sounds more articulate and as varied as the 
click of the Bushman , but voice alone can never enable 
brute intelligence to acquire language. 
' When we consider the complexity of every form of speech 

* See Herbert Spencer's Psychology and Scientific Essays. 


spoken by a highly civilised nation, and discover that the gram*- 
matical rules and the inflections which denote number, time, 
and quality are usually the product of a rude state of society 
that the savage and the sage, the peasant and man of letters, 
the child and the philosopher, have worked together, in the 
course of many generations, to build up a fabric which has 
been truly described as a wonderful instrument of thought, a 
machine, the several parts of which are so well adjusted to 
each other as to resemble the product of one period and of 
a single mind, we cannot but look upon the result as a 
profound mystery, and one of which the separate builders 
have been almost as unconscious as are the bees in a hive of 
the architectural skill and mathematical knowledge which is 
displayed in the construction of the honeycomb. 

In our attempts to account for the origin of species, we 
find ourselves still sooner brought face to face with the 
working of a law of developement of so high an order as to 
stand nearly in the same relation as the Deity himself to 
man's finite understanding, a law capable of adding new and 
powerful causes, such as the moral and intellectual faculties 
of the human race, to a system of nature which had gone on 
for millions of years without the intervention of any analogous 
cause. If we confound ( Variation ' or ' Natural Selection ' 
with such creation al laws, we deify secondary causes or 
immeasurably exaggerate their influence. 

Yet we ought by no means to undervalue the importance 
of the step which will have been made, should it ever become 
highly probable that the past changes of the organic world 
have been brought about by the subordinate agency of such 
causes as ' Variation' and ' Natural Selection.' All our 
advances in the knowledge of Nature have consisted of such 
steps as these, and we must not be discouraged because 
greater mysteries remain behind wholly inscrutable to us. 

If the philologist is asked whether in the beginning of things 


there was one or five, or a greater number of languages, he 
may answer that, before he can reply to such a question, it 
must be decided whether the origin of man was single, or 
whether there were many primordial races. But he may 
also observe, that if mankind began their career in a rude 
state of society, their whole vocabulary would be limited to 
a few words, and that if they then separated into several 
isolated communities, each of these would soon acquire an 
entirely distinct language, some roots being lost and others 
corrupted and transformed beyond the possibility of subse 
quent identification, so that it might be hopeless to expect to 
trace back the living and dead languages to one starting 
point, even if that point were of much more modern date 
than we have now good reason to suppose. In like manner 
it may be said of species, that if those first formed were of 
very simple structure, and they began to vary and to lose 
some organs by disuse and acquire new ones by develope- 
ment, they might soon differ as much as so many distinctly 
created primordial types. It would therefore be a waste of 
time to speculate on the number of original monads or germs 
from which all plants and animals were subsequently evolved, 
more especially as the oldest fossiliferous strata known to us 
may be the last of a long series of antecedent formations, which 
once contained organic remains. It was not till geologists 
ceased to discuss the condition of the original nucleus of the 
planet, whether it was solid or fluid, and whether it owed its 
fluidity to aqueous or igneous causes, that they began to 
achieve their great triumphs ; and the question now at issue, 
whether the living species are connected with the extinct by a 
common bond of descent, will best be cleared up by devoting 
ourselves to the study of the actual state of the living world, 
and to those monuments of the past in which the relics of 
the animate creation of former ages are best preserved and 
least mutilated by the hand of time. 













SOME of the opponents of transmutation, who are well 
versed in Natural History, admit that though that doc 
trine is untenable, it is not without its practical advantages 
as a ' useful working hypothesis,' often suggesting good ex 
periments and observations, and aiding us to retain in the 
memory a multitude of facts respecting the geographical 
distribution of genera, and species, both of animals and 
plants, and the succession in time of organic remains, and 
many other phenomena which, but for such a theory, would 
be wholly without a common bond of relationship. 

It is in fact conceded by many eminent zoologists and 


botanists, as before explained, that whatever may be the 
nature of the species-making power or law, its effects are of 
such a character as to imitate the results which variation, 
guided by natural selection, would produce, if only we could 
assume with certainty that there are no limits to the varia 
bility of species. But as the anti-transmutationists are per 
suaded that such limits do exist, they regard the hypothesis 
as simply a provisional one, and expect that it will one day 
be surperseded by another cognate theory, which will not 
require us to assume the former continuousness of the 
links which have connected the past and present states 
of the organic world, or the outgoing with the incoming 

In like manner, many of those who hesitate to give in 
their full adhesion to the doctrine of progression, the other 
twin branch of the developement theory, and who even object 
to it, as frequently tending to retard the reception of new 
facts supposed to militate against opinions solely founded on 
negative evidence, are, nevertheless, agreed that on the whole 
it is of great service in guiding our speculations. Indeed, it 
cannot be denied that a theory which establishes a con 
nection between the absence of all relics of vertebrata in the 
oldest fossiliferous rocks, and the presence of man's remains in 
the newest, which affords a more than plausible explanation of 
the successive appearance in strata of intermediate age of the 
fish, reptile, bird, and rnammifer, has no ordinary claims to 
our favour as comprehending the largest number of positive 
and negative facts gathered from all parts o*f the globe, and 
extending over countless ages, that science has perhaps ever 
attempted to embrace in one grand generalisation. 

But will not transmutation, if adopted, require us to 
include the human race in the same continuous series of 
developements, so that we must hold that man himself has 
been derived by an unbroken line of descent from some one 


of the inferior animals? We certainly cannot escape from 
such a conclusion without abandoning many of the weightiest 
arguments which have been urged in support of variation 
and natural selection, considered as the subordinate causes 
by which new types have been gradually introduced into the 
earth. Many of the gaps which separate the most nearly 
allied genera and orders of mammalia are, in a physical 
point of view, as wide as those which divide man from the 
mammalia most nearly akin to him, and the extent of his 
isolation, whether we regard his whole nature or simply his 
corporeal attributes, must be considered before we can discuss 
the bearing of transmutation upon his origin and place in 
the creation. 

Systems of Classification. 

In order to qualify ourselves to judge of the degree of 
affinity in physical organisation between Man and the lower 
animals, we cannot do better than study those systems of 
classification which have been proposed by the most eminent 
teachers of natural history. Of these an elaborate and 
faithful summary has recently been drawn up by the late 
Isidore Geoffrey St. Hilaire, which the reader will do well 
to consult.* 

He begins by passing in review numerous schemes of 
classification, each of them having some merit, and most 
of which have been invented with a view of assigning to 
Man a separate place in the system of Nature, as, for 
example, by dividing animals into rational and irrational, or 
the whole organic world into three kingdoms, the human, the 
animal, and the vegetable, an arrangement defended on the 
ground that Man is raised as much by his intelligence above 
the animals as are these by their sensibility above plants. 

* Histoire Naturale Generale des Kgnes organiques. Paris, vol. ii. 1856. 


Admitting that these schemes are not unphilosophical, as 
duly recognising the double nature of Man (his moral and 
intellectual, as well as his physical attributes), Isidore Gr. 
St. Hilaire observes that little knowledge has been im 
parted by them. We have gained, he says, much more from 
those masters of the science who have not attempted any 
compromise between two distinct orders of ideas, the physical 
and psychological, and who have confined their attention 
strictly to Man's physical relation to the lower animals. 

Linnaeus led the way in this field of enquiry by comparing 
Man and the apes, in the same manner as he compared these 
last with the carnivores, ruminants, rodents, or any other 
division of warm-blooded quadrupeds. After several modifi 
cations of his original scheme, he ended by placing Man as 
one of the many genera in his order Primates, which 
embraced not only the apes and lemurs, but the bats also, 
as he found these last to be nearly allied to some of the 
lowest forms of the monkeys. But all modern naturalists, who 
retain the order Primates, agree to exclude from it the bats 
or cheiroptera ; and most of them class Man as one of several 
families of the order Primates. In this, as in most systems 
of classification, the families of modern zoologists and botanists 
correspond with the genera of Linnseus. 

Blumenbach, in 1779, proposed to deviate from this course, 
and to separate Man from the apes as an order apart, under 
the name of Bimana, or two-handed. In making this innova 
tion he seems at first to have felt that it could not be 
justified without calling in psychological considerations to his 
aid, to strengthen those which were purely anatomical ; for, 
in the earliest edition of his s Manual of Natural History/ 
he defined Man to be ' animal rationale, loquens, erectum, 
bimanum,' whereas in later editions he restricted himself 
entirely to the two last characters, namely, the erect position 
and the two hands, or 4 animal erectum, bimamun.' 


The terms 'bimanous' and 'quadrumanous' had been al 
ready employed by BufTon, in 1766, but not applied in a strict 
zoological classification till so used by Blumenbach. Twelve 
years later, Cuvier adopted the same order Bimana for the 
human family, while the apes, monkeys, and lemurs consti 
tuted a separate order, called Quadrumana. 

Eespecting this last innovation, Isidore GK St. Hilaire asks, 
' How could such a division stand, repudiated as it was by 
the anthropologists in the name of the moral and intellectual 
supremacy of Man ; and by the zoologists, on the ground of 
its incompatibility with natural affinities and with the true 
principles of classification ? Separated as a group of ordinal 
value, placed at the same distance from the ape as the latter 
from the carnivore, Man is at once too near and too distant 
from the higher mammalia ; too near if we take into ac 
count those elevated faculties, which, raising Man above all 
other organised beings, accord to him not only the first, but 
a separate place in the creation, too far if we merely con 
sider the organic affinities which unite him with the quadru- 
mana ; with the apes especially, which, in a purely physical 
point of view, approach Man more nearly than they do the 

f What, then, is this order of Bimana of Blumenbach and 
Cuvier ? An impracticable compromise between two oppo 
site and irreconcilable systems between two orders of ideas 
which are clearly expressed in the language of natural history 
by these two words : the human kingdom and the human 
family. It is one of those would-be via media propositions 
which, once seen through, satisfy no one, precisely because 
they are intended to please everybody ; half-truths, perhaps, 
but also half-falsehoods ; for what, in science, is a half-truth 
but an error ? ' 

Isidore Gr. St. Hilaire then proceeds to show how, in spite 
of the great authority of Blumenbach and Cuvier, a large 


proportion of modern zoologists of note have rejected the 
order Bimana, and have regarded Man simply as a family 
of one and the same order, Primates. 

Term ' QuadrumanousJ why deceptive. 

Even the term c Quadrumanous ' has lately been shown by 
Professor Huxley, in a lecture delivered by him in the spring 
of 1860-61, which I had the good fortune to hear, to have 
proved a fertile source of popular delusion, conveying ideas 
which the great anatomists Blumenbach and Cuvier never 
entertained themselves, namely, that in the so-called 
Quadrumana the extremities of the hind-limbs bear a real 
resemblance to the human hands, instead of corresponding 
anatomically with the human feet. 

As this subject bears very directly on the question, how 
far Man is entitled, in a purely zoological classification, to 
rank as an order apart, I shall proceed to cite, in an abridged 
form, the words of the lecturer above alluded to. * 

6 To gain,' he observes, ' a precise conception of the resem 
blances and differences of the hand and foot, and of the 
distinctive characters of each, we must look below the skin, 
and compare the bony framework and its motor apparatus in 

( The foot of Man is distinguished from his hand by 

6 1. The arrangement of the tarsal bones. 

6 2. By having a short flexor and a short extensor muscle 
of the digits. 

( 3. By possessing the muscle termed peronceus longus. 
And if we desire to ascertain whether the terminal division 

* Professor Huxley's third lecture been embodied with the rest of the 
1 On the Motor Organs of Man com- course in his forthcoming work, en- 
pared with those of other Animals,' de- titled, ' Evidence as to Man's Place in 
livered in the Eoyal School of Mines, Nature.' Williams & Norgate, London. 
in Jermyn Street (March 1861), has 


of a limb in other animals is to be called a foot or a hand, it 
is by the presence or absence of these characters that we 
must be guided, and not by the mere proportions, and greater 
or lesser mobility of the great toe, which may vary indefi 
nitely without any fundamental alteration in the structure of 
the foot. Keeping these considerations in mind, let us now 
turn to the limbs of the Gorilla. The terminal division of 
the fore-limb presents no difficulty bone for bone, and 
muscle for muscle, are found to be arranged precisely as in 
Man, or with such minute differences as are found as varieties 
in Man. The Gorilla's hand is clumsier, heavier, and has a 
thumb somewhat shorter in proportion than that of Man; 
but no one has ever doubted its being a true hand. 

( At first sight, the termination of the hind-limb of the 
Gorilla looks very hand-like, and as it is still more so in the 
lower apes, it is not wonderful that the appellation " Quadru- 
mana," or four-handed creatures, adopted from the older 
anatomists by Blumenbach, and unfortunately rendered 
current by Cuvier, should have gained such wide acceptance 
as a name for the ape order. But the most cursory anatomi 
cal investigation at once proves, that the resemblance of the 
so-called " hind-hand " to a true hand is only skin deep, 
and that, in all essential respects, the hind-limb of the Gorilla 
is as truly terminated by a foot as that of Man. The tarsal 
bones, in all important circumstances of number, disposition, 
and form, resemble those of Man. The metatarsals and 
digits, on the other hand, are proportionally longer and 
more slender, while the great toe is not only proportionally 
shorter and weaker, but its metatarsal bone is united by a 
far more movable joint with the tarsus. At the game 
time, the foot is set more obliquely upon the leg than in 

( As to the muscles, there is a short flexor, a short extensor, 
and a peronseus longus, while the tendons of the long flexors 


of the great toe and of the other toes are united together 
and into an accessory fleshy bundle. 

6 The hind-limb of the Gorilla, therefore, ends in a true 
foot with a very movable great toe. It is a prehensile foot, if 
you will, but is in no sense a hand : it is a foot which differs 
from that of Man in no fundamental character, but in mere 
proportions degree of mobility and secondary arrange 
ment of its parts. 

'It must not be supposed, however, that because I speak 
of these differences as not fundamental, that 1 wish to under 
rate their value. They are important enough in their way, 
the structure of the foot being in strict correlation with that 
of the rest of the organism ; but after all, regarded anatomi 
cally, the resemblances between the foot of Man and the foot 
of the Grorilla are far more striking and important than the 
differences.' * 

After dwelling on some points of anatomical detail, highly 
important, but for which I have not space here, the Professor 
continues : Throughout all these modifications, it must be 
recollected that the foot loses no one of its essential cha 
racters. Every monkey and lemur exhibits the characteristic 
arrangement of tarsal bones, possesses a short flexor and 
short extensor muscle, and a peronseus longus. Varied as 
the proportions and appearance of the organ may be, the 
terminal division of the hind-limb remains in plan and prin 
ciple of construction a foot, and never in the least degree 
approaches a hand.'f For these reasons, Professor Huxley 
rejects the term * Quadrumana,' as leading to serious mis 
conception, and regards Man as one of the families of the 
Primates. This method of classification he shows to be 
equally borne out by an appeal to another character on which 
so much reliance has always been placed in classification, 

* Professor Huxley, ibid. f Ibid. 


as affording in the mammalia the most trustworthy indica 
tions of affinity, namely, the dentition. 

' The number of teeth in the Gorilla and all the Old World 
monkeys except the lemurs is thirty-two, the same as in 
Man, and the general pattern of their crowns the same. 
But besides other distinctions, the canines in all but Man 
project in the upper or lower jaws almost like tusks. But all 
the American apes have four more teeth in their permanent 
set, or thirty-eight in all, so that they differ in this respect 
more from the Old World apes than do these last from Man. 

If therefore, by reference to this character, we place Man 
in a separate order, we must make several orders for the 
apes, monkeys, and lemurs, and so, in regard to the structure 
of the hands and feet before alluded to, ( the Gorilla differs 
far more from some of the quadrumana than he differs from 
Man.' Indeed, Professor Huxley contends that there is more 
difference between the hand and foot of the Gorilla and those 
of the Orang, one of the anthropomorphous apes, than 
between those of the Gorilla and Man, for 'the thumb 
of the Orang differs by its shortness and by the absence of 
any special long flexor muscle from that of the Gorilla more 
than it differs from that of Man.' The carpus also of the 
Orang, like that of most lower apes, contains nine bones, 
while in the Gorilla, as in Man and the Chimpanzee, there are 
only eight.' Other characters are also given to show that 
the Orang's foot separates it more widely from the Gorilla 
than that of the Gorilla separates that ape from Man. In 
some of the lower apes, the divergence from the human type 
of hand and foot, as well as from those of the Gorilla, is still 
greater, as, for example, in the spider-monkey and marmoset.* 

If the muscles, viscera, or any other part of the animal 
fabric, including the brain, be compared, the results are 
declared to be similar. 

* Huxley, ibid. p. 29. 


Whether the Structure of the Human Brain entitles Man 
to Form a distinct Sub-class of the Mammalia. 

When, in consequence of these and many other zoological 
considerations, the order Bimana had already been declared 
in 1856, by Isidore Gr. St. Hilaire, in his history of the science 
above quoted (p. 473), 'to have become obsolete,' even 
though sanctioned by the great names of Blumenbach and 
Cuvier, the reader may imagine the surprise excited in the 
scientific world when Professor Owen announced, in the year 
following the publication of Gr. St. Hilaire's work, that he 
had been led by purely anatomical considerations to sepa 
rate Man from the other Primates and from the mammalia 
generally as a distinct sub-class, thus departing farther from 
the classification of Blumenbach and Cuvier than they had 
ventured to do from that of Linnaeus. 

The proposed innovation was based chiefly on three cerebral 
characters belonging, it was alleged, exclusively to Man, and 
thus described in the following passages of a memoir com 
municated to the Linnasan Society in 1857, in which all the 
mammalia were divided, according to the structure of the 
brain, into four sub-classes, represented by the kangaroo, the 
beaver, the ape, and Man, respectively : 

* In Man, the brain presents an ascensive step in develope- 
ment, higher and more strongly marked than that by which 
the preceding sub-class was distinguished from the one below 
it. Not only do the cerebral hemispheres overlap the olfac 
tory lobes and cerebellum, but they extend in advance of the 
one and farther back than the other. Their posterior de- 
velopement is so marked, that anatomists have assigned to 
that part the character of a third lobe ; it is peculiar to the 
genus Homo, and equally peculiar is the " posterior horn of 
the lateral ventricle " and the " hippocampus minor " which 
characterises the hind-lobe of each hemisphere. The super- 


ficial grey matter of the cerebrum, through the number and 
depth of its convolutions, attains its maximum of extent 
in Man. 

6 Peculiar mental powers are associated with this highest 
form of brain, and their consequences wonderfully illustrate 
the value of the cerebral character ; according to my estimate 
of which, I am led to regard the genus Homo as not merely a 
representative of a distinct order, but of a distinct sub-class 
of the mammalia, for which I propose the name of "Archen- 
cephala" '* 

The above definition is accompanied in the same memoir 
by the following note : 'Not being able to appreciate, or 
conceive, of the distinction between the psychical phenomena 
of a chimpanzee and of a Boschisman, or of an Aztec with 
arrested brain-growth, as being of a nature so essential as to 
preclude a comparison between them, or as being other than 
a difference of degree, I cannot shut my eyes to the signifi 
cance of that all-pervading similitude of structure every 
tooth, every bone, strictly homologous which makes the 
determination of the difference between Homo and Pithecus 
the anatomist's difficulty ; and therefore, with every respect 
for the author of the "Kecords of Creation,"f I follow Linnaeus 
and Cuvier in regarding mankind as a legitimate subject of 
zoological comparison and classification.' 

To illustrate the difference between the human and Simian 
brain, Professor Owen gave figures of the negro's brain as 
represented by Tiedemann, an original one of a South 
American monkey, Midas rufimanus, and one of the chim 
panzee, fig. 54, p. 482, from a memoir published in 1849 by 
MM. Schroeder van der Kolk and M. Vrolik.J 

* Owen, Proceedings of the Linnaean J Comptes rendus de 1' Academic 

Society, London, vol. viii. p. 20. Koyale des Sciences, vol. xiii. Am- 

f The late Archbishop of Canter- sterdam. 
bury, Dr. Sumner. 

I I 




Fig. 54 

Upper surface of brain of China 
panzee, distorted (from Schroeder 
van der Kolk and Vrolik). 

A. Left cerebral hemisphere. 

B. Eight ditto. 

c. Cerebellum displaced. 

Fig. 55 

Side view of same (from 
Schroeder van der Kolk and 
Vrolik), showing at e the ex 
tension of the displaced cere 
bellum beyond the cerebrum 
at d. 

Fig. 56 

Correct side view of Chimpan 
zee's brain (from Gratiolet), 
showing the backward extension 
of the cerebrum at d, beyond the 
cerebellum at e. 

ff. Fissure of Sylvius. 




Fig. 57. 

Correct view of upper surface of Chimpanzee's brain (from G-ratiolet), 
in which the cerebrum covers and conceals the cerebellum. 

Fig. 58 

Side view of human brain (from Gratiolet), namely, that of the bush- 
woman called the Hottentot Venus. 

A. Left cerebral hemisphere. c. Cerebellum. 

//. Fissure of Sylvius. 

Scale of the five figures, from 54 to 58, half the diameter of the natural size. 



The selection of the last-mentioned figure was most unfor 
tunate, for three years before, M. Gratiolet, the highest 
authority in cerebral anatomy of our age, had, in his splendid 
work on ( The Convolutions of the Brain in Man and the 
Primates' (Paris, 1854), pointed out that, though this 
engraving faithfully expressed the cerebral foldings as seen 
on the surface, it gave a very false idea of the relative 
position of the several parts of the brain, which, as very 
commonly happens in. such preparations, had shrunk and 
greatly sunk down by their own weight.* 

Anticipating the serious mistakes which would arise from 
this inaccurate representation of the brain of the ape, pub 
lished under the auspices of men so deserving of trust as the 
two above-named Dutch anatomists, M. Gratiolet thought it 
expedient, by way of warning to his readers, to repeat their in 
correct figures (figs. 54 and 55, p. 482), and to place by the side 
of them two correct views (57, p. 483, and 56, p. 482) of the 
brain of the same ape. By reference to these illustrations, 
as well as to fig. 58, p. 483, the reader will see not only the 
contrast of the relative position of the cerebrum and cere 
bellum, as delineated in the natural as well as in the distorted 
state, but also the remarkable general correspondence be 
tween the chimpanzee brain and that of the human subject 
in everything save in size. The human brain (fig. 58) here 
given, by Gratiolet, is that of an African bushwoman, 
called the Hottentot Venus, who was exhibited formerly 
in London, and who died in Paris. 

Kespecting this striking analogy of cerebral structure in 
Man and the apes, Gratiolet says, in the work above cited : 
6 The convoluted brain of Man and the smooth brain of the 

* Gratiolet' s words are : ' Les plis profondement affaisse, aussi la forme 

cerebraux du chimpanze y sont fort generale du cerveau est-elle rendue, 

bien etudies, malheureusement le cer- dans lenrs planches, d'une maniere 

veau qui leur a servi de modele etait tout-a-fait fausse.' Ibid. p. 18. 


marmoset resemble each other by the quadruple character of 
a rudimentary olfactory lobe, a posterior lobe completely 
covering the cerebellum, a well-defined fissure of Sylvius, 
(//,fig. 56,) and lastly, a posterior horn in the lateral ventricle. 
These characters are not met with together, except in Man 
and the apes.'* 

In reference to the other figure of a monkey given by 
Professor Owen, namely, that of the Midas, one of the 
Marmosets, he states, in 1857 as he had done in 1837, 
that the posterior part of the cerebral hemispheres ( extends, 
as in most of the quadrumana, over the greater part of the 
cerebellum.'^ In 1859, in his Eeade Lecture, delivered to 
the University of Cambridge, the only illustration which he 
gave of an ape's brain was a reproduction of that distorted 
one of the Dutch anatomists already cited (fig. 54, p. 482). 

Two years later, Professor Huxley, in a memoir ' On the 
Zoological Kelations of Man with the Lower Animals,' took 
occasion to refer to Gratiolet's warning, and to cite his 
criticism on the Dutch plates ; J but this reminder appears 
to have been overlooked by Professor Owen, who six months 
later came out with a new paper on ( The Cerebral Character 
of Man and the Ape,' in. which he repeated the incorrect re 
presentation of Schroeder van der Kolk and Vrolik, associating 
it with Tiedemann's figure of a negro's brain, expressly to 
show the relative and different extent to which the cerebellum 
is overlapped by the cerebrum in the two cases respectively. 
In the ape's brain as thus depicted, the portion of the cere 
bellum left uncovered is greater than in the lemurs, the lowest 
type of Primates, and almost as large as in the rodentia, or 
some of the lowest grades of the mammalia. 

* Gratiolet, ibid. Avant-propos, J Huxley, Natural History Keview, 

p. 2, 1854. January 7, 1861, p. 76. 

f Proceedings of the Linnsean So- Annals and Magazine of Natural 

ciety, 1857, p. 18, and Philosophical History, vol. vii. p. 456, and PI. XX., 

Transactions, 1837, p. 93. June 1861. 


When the Dutch naturalists above mentioned found their 
figures so often appealed to as authority, by one the weight of 
whose opinion on such matters they well knew how to ap 
preciate, they resolved to do their best towards preventing the 
public from being misled. Accordingly, they addressed to 
the Eoyal Academy of Amsterdam a memoir s On the brain 
of an Orang-outang ' which had just died in the Zoological 
Gardens of that city.* The dissection of this ape, in 1861, 
fully bore out the general conclusions at which they had 
previously arrived in 1849, as to the existence both in the 
human and the simian brain of the three characters, which 
Professor Owen had represented as exclusively appertaining 
to Man, namely, the occipital or posterior lobe, the hippo 
campus minor, and the posterior cornu. These last two 
features consist of certain cavities and furrows in the posterior 
lobes, which are caused by the foldings of the brain, and are 
only visible when it is dissected. MM. Schroeder van der 
Kolk and Vrolik took this opportunity of candidly confessing, 
that M. Grratiolet's comments on the defects of their two 
figures (figs. 54 and 55) were perfectly just, and they ex 
pressed regret that Professor Owen should have overstated 
the differences existing between the brain of Man and the 
Quadrumana, 'led astray, as they supposed, by his zeal to 
combat the Darwinian theory respecting the transformation 
of species,' a doctrine against which they themselves pro 
tested strongly, saying that it belongs to a class of specula 
tions which are sure to be revived from time to time, and 
are always 'peculiarly seductive to young and sanguine 
minds.' f 

As the two memoirs before alluded to by us (p. 408), the 
one by Mr. Darwin on ( Natural Selection,' and the other by 
Mr. Wallace ' On the Tendency of Varieties to depart inde- 

* This paper is reprinted in the tory Eeview for January 1862, vol. ii. 
original French, in the Natural His- p. 111. f Ibid. p. 114. 


finitely from the original Type,' did not appear till 1858, a 
year after Professor Owen's classification of the mammalia, 
and as Darwin's ' Origin of Species ' was not published till 
another year had elapsed, we cannot accept the explanation 
above offered to us of the causes which led the founder of 
the sub-class Archencephala to seek for new points of dis 
tinction between the human and simian brains; but the 
Dutch anatomists may have fallen into this anachronism by 
having just read, in the paper by Professor Owen in the 
Annals, some prefatory allusions to f the Vestiges of Creation, 
'Natural Selection, and the question whether man be or be 
not a descendant of the ape.' 

The number of original and important memoirs to which 
this discussion on the cerebral relations of Man to the Pri 
mates has already given rise in less than five years, must 
render the controversy for ever memorable in the history of 
Comparative Anatomy.* 

In England alone, no less than fifteen genera of the Pri 
mates (the subjects having been almost all furnished by that 
admirable institution, the Zoological Gardens of London) 
have been anatomically examined, and they include nearly 
all the leading types of structure of the Old and New 
World apes and monkeys, from the most anthropoid form to 
that farthest removed from Man ; in other words, from the 
Chimpanzee to the Lemur. These are 

Troglodytes (Chimpanzee). 
Pithecus (Orang). 
Hylobates (Gibbon). 

Cynocephalus (Baboon). 

* Eolleston, Natural History Ee- Transactions, 1862.) Id. on Javan 

view, April 1861. Huxley, on Brain Loris (Proceedings of the Zoological 

of Ateles, Zoological Proceedings, Society, 1862). Id. on Anatomy of 

June 1861. Flower, Posterior Lobe Pithecia (ibid. December 1862). 
in Quadrumana, &c. (Philosophical 


Aides (Spider Monkey). 
Cebus (Capuchin Monkey). 
Pitheda (Saki). 
Nyctipithecus (Douricouli). 

Hapale (Marmoset). 


In July, 1861, Mr. Marshall, in a paper on the brain of a 
young Chimpanzee, which he had dissected immediately after 
its death, gave a series of photographic drawings, showing 
that when the parts are all in a fresh state, the posterior lobe 
of the cerebrum, instead of simply covering the cerebellum, is 
prolonged backwards beyond it even to a greater extent than 
in Gratiolet's figure, 56, p. 482, and, what is more in point, 
in a greater degree relatively speaking (at least in the young 
state of the animal) than in Man. In fact, ' the projection is 
to the extent of about one-ninth of the total length of the 
cerebrum, whereas the average excess of overlapping is only 
one-eleventh in the human brain.' * 

The same author gives an instructive account of the man 
ner in which displacement and distortion take place when 
such brains are preserved in spirits as in the ordinary pre 
parations of the anatomist. 

Mr. Flower, in a recent paper on the posterior lobe of the 
cerebrum in the Quadrumana,f remarks, that although 
Tiedemann had declared himself unable in 1821 to detect 
the hippocampus minor or the posterior cornu of the lateral 
ventricle in the brain of a Macacus dissected by him, Cuvier, 
nevertheless, mentions the latter as characteristic of Man 
and the apes, and M. Serres, in his well-known work on 
the brain in 1826, has shown in at least four species of apes 

* Natural History Eeview, July of backward extension of the cerebrum 

1861, by John Marshall, F.K.S., in some races of Man. Medical Times, 

Surgeon to University College Hos- October 1862, p. 419. 
pital. See also on this subject Pro- f Philosophical Transactions, 1862, 

fessor Rolleston on the slight degree p. 185. 


the presence of both the hippocampus minor and the poste 
rior cornu. 

Tiedemann had expressly stated that ' the third or hinder 
lobe in the ape covered the cerebellum as in Man,'* and as 
to his negative evidence in respect to the internal structure 
of that lobe, it can have no weight whatever against the 
positive proofs obtained to the contrary by a host of able 
observers. Even before Tiedemann's work was published, 
Kuhl had dissected, in 1820, the brain of the spider-monkey 
(Ateles beelzebutli), and had given a figure of a long pos 
terior cornu to the lateral ventricle, which he had described 
as such.f 

The general results arrived at by the English anatomists 
already cited, and by Professor Eolleston in various papers 
on the same subject, have thus been briefly stated by Pro 
fessor Huxley : 

6 Every lemur which has yet been examined has its cere 
bellum partially uncovered, its posterior lobe with the con 
tained posterior cornu and hippocampus minor more or less 
rudimentary. Every marmoset, American monkey, Old 
World monkey, baboon or man-like ape, on the contrary, 
has its cerebellum entirely covered, a large posterior cornu, 
and a well-developed hippocampus minor. 

' In many of these creatures, such as the Saimiri (Chryso- 
thrix), the cerebral lobes overlap and extend much farther 
behind the cerebellum in proportion than they do in Man.'J 

It is by no means pretended that these conclusions of 
British observers as to the affinity in cerebral structure of 
Man and the Primates, are new, but, on the contrary, that 
they confirm the inductions previously made by the principal 
continental teachers of the last and present generations, such 

* Tiedemann, Icones cerebri Simi- fart am Main, 1820. 
arum, &c., p. 48. { Huxley, 

f BeitragezurZoologie,&c., Frank- 


as Tiedemann, Cuvier, Serres, Leuret, Wagner, Schroeder van 
der Kolk, Vrolik, Grratiolet, and others. 

At a late meeting of the British Association (1862), Pro 
fessor Owen read a paper e On the brain and limb characters 
of the Gorilla as contrasted with those of Man,' * in which, 
without alluding to the disclaimer by the Dutch anatomists 
of their defective plates, now so widely circulated in Eng 
land, he observes, that in the gorilla the cerebrum ' extends 
over the cerebellum, not beyond it.' This statement, although 
slightly at variance with one published the year before 
(1861) by Professor Huxley, who maintains that it does pro 
ject beyond, is interesting as correcting the description of the 
same brain given by Professor Owen in that year, in a 
lecture to the Eoyal Institution, in which a considerable part 
of the cerebellum of the gorilla was represented as uncovered.! 
In the same memoir, it is remarked, that in the Maimon 
Baboon the cerebrum not only covers but f extends backwards 
even beyond the cerebellum.' J This baboon, therefore, 
possesses a posterior lobe, according to every description 
yet given of such a lobe, including a new definition of the 
same lately proposed by Professor Owen. For the posterior 
lobe was formerly considered to be that part of the cerebrum 
which covers the cerebellum, whereas Professor Owen defines 
it as that part which covers the posterior third of the cere 
bellum, and extends beyond it. 

We may, therefore, consider the attempt to distinguish 
the brain of Man from that of the ape on the ground of 
newly-discovered cerebral characters, presenting differences 
in kind, as virtually abandoned by its originator, and if the 

* Medical Times and Gazette, Oc- 30, p. 434. 

tober 1862, p. 373. j For Beport of Professor Owen's 

f Athenaeum Journal Report of Cambridge British Association Paper, 

Royal Institution, Lecture, March 23, see Medical Times, October 11, 1862, 

1861, and reference to it by Pro- p. 373. 

fessor Owen as to Gorilla, ibid. March Annals, ibid. p. 457. 


sub-class Archencephala is to be retained, it must depend on 
differences in degree, as, for example, the vast increase of the 
brain in Man, as compared with that of the highest ape, ' in 
absolute size, and the still greater superiority in relative size 
to the bulk and weight of the body.' * 

* If we ask why this character, though well known to Cuvier 
and other great anatomists before our time, was not consi 
dered by them to entitle Man, physically considered, to claim 
a more distinct place in the group called Primates, than that 
of a separate order, or, according to others, a separate genus 
or family only, we shall find the answer thus concisely 
stated by Professor Huxley in his new work, before cited : 
* So far as I am aware, no human cranium belonging to 
an adult man has yet been observed with a less cubical 
capacity than 62 cubic inches, the smallest cranium observed 
in any race of men, by Morton, measuring 63 cubic inches ; 
while on the other hand, the most capacious gorilla skull 
yet measured has a content of not more than 34^ cubic 
inches. Let us assume, for simplicity's sake, that the 
lowest man's skull has twice the capacity of the highest 
gorilla's. No doubt this is a very striking difference, but 
it loses much of its apparent, systematic value, when viewed 
by the light of certain other equally indubitable facts re 
specting cranial capacities. 

' The first of these is, that the difference in the volume of 
the cranial cavity of different races of mankind is far greater, 
absolutely, than that between the lowest man and the highest 
ape while, relatively, it is about the same; for the largest 
human skull measured by Morton contained 114 cubic 
inches, that is to say, had very nearly double the capacity of 
the smallest, while its absolute preponderance of over 50 
cubic inches is far greater than that by which the lowest 

* Owen, ibid. p. 373." 


adult male human cranium surpasses the largest of the 
gorillas (62 32J = 27 J). Secondly, the adult crania of 
gorillas which have as yet been measured, differ among 
themselves by nearly one-third, the maximum capacity being 
34-5 cubic inches, the minimum 24 cubic inches; and, 
thirdly, after making all due allowance for difference of size, 
the cranial capacities of some of the lower apes fall nearly as 
much, relatively, below those of the higher apes, as the latter 
fall below man.' * 

Are we then to conclude, that differences in mental power 
have no intimate connection with the comparative volume of 
the brain ? We cannot draw such an inference, because the 
highest and most civilised races of Man exceed in the average 
of their cranial capacity the lowest races, the European 
brain, for example, being larger than that of the negro, and 
somewhat more convoluted and less symmetrical, and those 
apes, on the other hand, which approach nearest to Man in the 
form and volume of their brain being more intelligent than 
the Lemurs, or still lower divisions of the mammalia, such as 
the Eodents and Marsupials, which have smaller brains. But 
the extraordinary intelligence of the elephant and dog, so far 
exceeding that of the larger part of the Quadrumana, although 
their brains are of a type much more remote from the human, 
may serve to convince us how far we are as yet from under 
standing the real nature of the dependence of intellectual 
superiority on cerebral structure. 

Professor Kolleston, in reference to this subject, remarks, 
that ' even if it were to be proved that the differences between 
Man's brain and that of the ape's are differences entirely of 
quantity, there is no reason, in the nature of things, why so 
many and such weighty differences in degree should not 
amount to a difference in kind. 

* Huxley, On the Eelation of Man to the rest cf the Animal Kingdom. 
London, 1863. 


* Differences of degree and differences of kind are, it is true, 
mutually exclusive terms in the language of the schools ; but 
whether they are so also in the laboratory of Nature, we may 
very well doubt.'* 

The same physiologist suggests, that as there is con 
siderable plasticity in the human frame, not only in youth 
and during growth, but even in the adult, we ought 
not always to take for granted, as some advocates of the 
developement theory seem to do, that each advance in 
psychical power depends on an improvement in bodily struc 
ture, for why may not the soul, or the higher intellectual and 
moral faculties, play the first instead of the second part in a 
progressive scheme ? 

Intelligence of the lower Animals compared to that of Man. 

Ever since the days of Leibnitz, metaphysicians who have 
attempted to draw a line of demarcation between the intelli 
gence of the lower animals and that of Man, or between 
instinct and reason, have experienced difficulties analogous 
to those which the modern anatomist encounters when he 
tries to distinguish the brain of an ape from that of Man by 
some characters more marked than those of mere size and 
weight, which vary so much in individuals of the same 
species, whether simian or human. 

Professor Agassiz, after declaring that as yet we scarcely 
possess the most elementary information requisite for a 
scientific comparison of the instincts and faculties of animals 
with those of Man, confesses that he cannot say in what the 
mental faculties of a child differ from those of a young chim 
panzee. He also observes, that ( the range of the passions of 

* Keport of a Lecture delivered at Man and Animals. Medical Gazette, 
the Koyal Institution, by Professor March 15, 1862, p. 262. 

George Eolleston, On the Brain of 


animals is as extensive as that of the human mind, and I am 
at a loss to perceive a difference of kind between them, how 
ever much they may differ in degree, and in the manner in 
which they are expressed. The gradations of the moral 
faculties among the higher animals and Man are, moreover, 
so imperceptible, that to deny to the first a certain sense of 
responsibility and consciousness, would certainly be an exag 
geration of the difference between animals and Man. There 
exists, besides, as much individuality within their respective 
capabilities among animals as among Man, as every sports 
man, or every keeper of menageries, or every farmer and 
shepherd can testify, who has had a large experience with wild, 
or tamed, or domesticated animals. This argues strongly in 
favour of the existence in every animal of an immaterial 
principle, similar to that which, by its excellence and superior 
endowments, places Man so much above animals. Yet the 
principle exists unquestionably, and whether it be called 
soul, reason, or instinct, it presents, in the whole range of 
organised beings, a series of phenomena closely linked to 
gether, and upon it are based not only the higher manifes 
tations of the mind, but the very permanence of the specific 
differences which characterise every organ. Most of the 
arguments of philosophy in favour of the immortality of Man 
apply equally to the permanency of this principle in other 
living beings.' * 

Professor Huxley, when commenting on a passage in 
Professor Owen's memoir, above cited (p. 481), argues that 
there is a unity in psychical as in physical plan among ani 
mated beings, and adds, that although he cannot go so far as 
to say that 'the determination of the difference between 
Homo and Pithecus is the anatomist's difficulty,' yet no 
impartial judge can doubt that the roots, as it were, of those 

* Contributions to the Natural History of the United States of North 
America, vol. i. part i. pp. 60, 64. 


great faculties which confer on Man his immeasurable supe 
riority above all other animate things are traceable far down 
into the animate world. The dog, the cat, and the parrot, 
return love for our love, and hatred for our hatred. They are 
capable of shame and of sorrow, and, though they may have 
no logic nor conscious ratiocination, no one who has watched 
their ways can doubt that they possess that power of rational 
cerebration which evolves reasonable acts from the premises 
furnished by the senses a process which takes fully as large 
a share as conscious reason in human activity.* 

Grounds for referring Man to a distinct Kingdom of 

None of the authors above cited, while they admit so fully 
the analogy which exists between the faculties of Man and 
the inferior animals, are disposed to underrate the enormous 
gap which separates Man from the brutes, and if they 
scarcely allow him to be referable to a distinct order, and 
much less to a separate sub-class, on purely physical grounds, 
it does not follow that they would object to the reasoning of 
M. Quatrefages, who says, in his work on the Unity of the 
Human Species, that Man must form a kingdom by himself 
if once we permit his moral and intellectual endowments to 
have their due weight in classification. 

As to his organisation, he observes, 'We find in the 
mammalia nearly absolute identity of anatomical structure, 
bone for bone, muscle for muscle, nerve for nerve 
similar organs performing like functions. It is not by a 
vertical position on his feet, the os sublime of Ovid, which 
he shares with the penguin, nor by his mental faculties, 
which, though more developed, are fundamentally the same 

* Natural History Keview, No. 1, p. 68, January 1861. 


as those of animals, nor by his powers of perception, will, 
memory, and a certain amount of reason, nor by articulate 
speech, which he shares with birds and some mammalia, and 
by which they express ideas comprehended not only by 
individuals of their own species but often by Man, nor is it 
by the faculties of the heart, such as love and hatred, which 
are also shared by quadrupeds and birds, but it is by some 
thing completely foreign to the mere animal, and belonging 
exclusively to Man, that we must establish a separate king 
dom for him (p. 21). These distinguishing characters,' he 
goes on to say, ( are the abstract notion of good and evil, 
right and wrong, virtue and vice, or the moral faculty, and a 
belief in a world beyond ours, and in certain mysterious 
beings, or a Being of a higher nature than ours, whom we 
ought to fear or revere ; in other words, the religious faculty.' 
P. 23. 

By these two attributes, the moral and the religious, not 
common to man and the brutes, M. Quatrefages proposes to 
distinguish the human from the animal kingdom. 

But he omits to notice one essential character, which 
Dr. Sumner, the late Archbishop of Canterbury, brought out 
in strong relief fifty years ago in his ' Eecords of Creation.' 
c There are writers,' he observes, ' who have taken an extra 
ordinary pleasure in levelling the broad distinction which 
separates Man from the Brute Creation. Misled to a false 
conclusion by the infinite variety of Nature's productions, 
they have described a chain of existence connecting the 
vegetable with the animal world, and the different orders of 
animals one with another, so as to rise by an almost imper 
ceptible gradation from the tribe of Simise to the lowest of 
the human race, and from these upwards to the most refined. 
But if a comparison were to be drawn, it should be taken, 
not from the upright form, which is by no means confined to 
mankind, nor even from the vague term reason, which cannot 


always be accurately separated from instinct, but from that 
power of progressive and improvable reason, which is Man's 
peculiar and exclusive endowment. 

' It has been sometimes alleged, and may be founded on 
fact, that there is less difference between the highest brute 
animal and the lowest savage than between the savage and 
the most improved Man. But, in order to warrant the pre 
tended analogy, it ought to be also true that this lowest 
savage is no more capable of improvement than the Chim 
panzee or Orang-outang. 

' Animals,' he adds, ' are born what they are intended to 
remain. Nature has bestowed upon them a certain rank, 
and limited the extent of their capacity by an impassible 
decree. Man she has empowered and obliged to become the 
artificer of his own rank in the scale of beings by the peculiar 
gift of improvable reason.' * 

We have seen that Professor Agassiz, in his Essay on Classi 
fication, above cited (p. 494), speaks of the existence in every 
animal of ( an immaterial principle similar to that which, by 
its excellence and superior endowments, places man so much 
above animals ; ' and he remarks, ' that most of the arguments 
of philosophy in favour of the immortality of man, apply 
equally to the permanency of this principle in other living 

Although the author has no intention by this remark to 
impugn the truth of the great doctrine alluded to, it may be 
well to observe, that if some of the arguments in favour of a 
future state are applicable in common to man and the lower 
animals, they are by no means those which are the weightiest 
and most relied on. It is no doubt true that, in both, the 
identity of the individual outlasts many changes of form 
and structure which take place during the passage from the 

* Records of Creation, vol. ii. chap. ii. 2nd ed. 1816. 
K K 


infant to the adult state, and from that to old age, and the 
loss again and again of every particle of matter which had 
entered previously into the composition of the body during 
its growth, and the substitution of new elements in their 
place, while the individual remains always the same, carries 
the analogy a step farther. But beyond this we cannot push 
the comparison. We cannot imagine this world to be a place 
of trial and moral discipline for any of the inferior animals, 
nor can any of them derive comfort and happiness from faith 
in a hereafter. To man alone is given this belief, so con 
sonant to his reason, and so congenial to the religious -senti 
ments implanted by nature in his soul, a doctrine which 
tends to raise him morally and intellectually in the scale of 
being, and the fruits of which are, therefore, most opposite 
in character to those which grow out of error and delusion. 

The opponents of the theory of transmutation sometimes 
argue that, if there had been a passage by variation from the 
lower Primates to Man, the geologist ought ere this to have 
detected some fossil remains of the intermediate links of the 
chain. But what we have said respecting the absence of 
gradational forms between the recent and pliocene mammalia 
(p. 436), may serve to show the weakness in the present state 
of science of any argument based on such negative evidence, 
especially in the case of man, since we have not yet searched 
those pages of the great book of nature, in which alone we 
have any right to expect to find records of the missing links 
alluded to. The countries of the anthropomorphous apes 
are the tropical regions of Africa, and the islands of Borneo 
and Sumatra, lands which may be said to be quite unknown 
in reference to their pliocene and post-pliocene mammalia. 
Man is an old world type, and it is not in Brazil, the only 
equatorial region where ossiferous caverns have yet been ex 
plored, that the discovery, in a fossil state, of extinct forms 
allied to the human, could be looked for. Lund, a Danish 


naturalist, found in Brazil, not only extinct sloths and arma- 
dilloes, but extinct genera of fossil monkeys, but all of the 
American type, and, therefore, widely departing in their den 
tition and some other characters from the Primates of the old 

At some future day, when many hundred species of extinct 
quadrumana may have been brought to light, the naturalist 
may speculate with advantage on this subject ; at present we 
must be content to wait patiently, and not to allow our judge 
ment respecting transmutation to be influenced by the want 
of evidence, which it would be contrary to analogy to look 
for in post- pliocene deposits in any districts, which as yet we 
have carefully examined. For, as we meet with extinct 
kangaroos and wombats in Australia, extinct llamas and 
sloths in South America, so in equatorial Africa, and in 
certain islands of the East Indian Archipelago, may we hope 
to meet hereafter with lost types of the anthropoid Primates, 
allied to the gorilla, chimpanzee, and orang-outang. 

Europe, during the pliocene period, seems not to have 
enjoyed a climate fitting it to be the habitation of the quad- 
rumanous mammalia ; but we no sooner carry back our re 
searches into miocene times, where plants and insects, like 
those of Oeninghen, and shells, like those of the faluns of the 
Loire, would imply a warmer temperature both of sea and 
land, than we begin to discover fossil apes and monkeys north 
of the Alps and Pyrenees. Among the few species already 
detected, two at least belong to the anthropomorphous class. 
One of these, the Dryopithecus of Lartet, a gibbon or long- 
armed ape, about equal to man in stature, was obtained in the 
year 1856 in the upper miocene strata at Sansan, near the 
foot of the Pyrenees in the South of France, and one bone 
of the same ape is reported to have been since procured from 

* See above, p. 479. 

K K 2 


a deposit of corresponding age at Eppelsheim near Darmstadt, 
in a latitude answering to that of the southern counties of 
England.* But according to the doctrine of progression it 
is not in these miocene strata, but in those of pliocene and 
post-pliocene date, in more equatorial regions, that there 
will be the greatest chance of discovering hereafter some 
species more highly organised than the gorilla and chim 

The only reputed fossil monkey of eocene date, namely, 
that found in 1840 at Kyson, in Suffolk, and so determined 
by Professor Owen, has recently been pronounced by the 
same anatomist, after reexamination, and when he had ampler 
materials at his command, to be a pachyderm. 

M. Riitimeyer,f however, an able osteologist, referred to in 
the earlier chapters of this work, has just announced the dis 
covery in eocene strata, in the Swiss Jura, of a monkey allied 
to the lemurs, but as he has only obtained as yet a small 
fragment of a jaw with three molar teeth, we must wait 
for fuller information before we confidently rely on the 
claims of his Ccenopithecus lemuroides to take rank as one 
of the Primates. 

Hallam on Marts place in the Creation. 

Hallam, in his ' Literature of Europe,' after indulging in 
some profound reflections on 'the thoughts of Pascal,' and 
the theological dogmas of his school respecting the fallen 
nature of Man, thus speaks of Man's place in the creation : 
'It might be wandering from the proper subject of these 
volumes if we were to pause, even shortly, to inquire whether, 
while the creation of a world so full of evil must ever 
remain the most inscrutable of mysteries, we might not be 

* Owen, ' Geologist,' November f Rutimeyer, 'Eocene Saugethiere/ 
1862. &c. Zurich, 1862. 


led some way in tracing the connexion of moral and physical 
evil in mankind, with his place in that creation, and es 
pecially, whether the law of continuity, which it has not 
pleased his Maker to break with respect to his bodily struc 
ture, and which binds that, in the unity of one great type, to 
the lower forms of animal life by the common conditions of 
nourishment, reproduction, and self-defence, has not rendered 
necessary both the physical appetites and the propensities 
which terminate in self ; whether again, the superior endow 
ments of his intellectual nature, his susceptibility of moral 
emotion, and of those disinterested affections which, if not 
exclusively, he far more intensely possesses than an inferior 
being above all, the gifts of conscience and a capacity to 
know Grod, might not be expected, even beforehand, by their 
conflict with the animal passions, to produce some partial 
inconsistencies, some anomalies at least, which he could not 
himself explain in so compound a being. Every link in the 
long chain of creation does not pass by easy transition into 
the next. There are necessary chasms, and, as it were, leaps 
from one creature to another, which, though not exceptions 
to the law of continuity, are accommodations of -it to a new 
series of being. If man was made in the image of Grod, he 
was also made in the image of an ape. The framework of 
the body of him who has weighed the stars and made the 
lightning his slave, approaches to that of a speechless brute, 
who wanders in the forests of Sumatra. Thus standing on 
the frontier land between animal and angelic natures, what 
wonder that he should partake of both ! ' * 

The law of continuity here spoken of, as not being violated 
by occasional exceptions, or by leaps from one creature to an 
other, is not the law of variation and natural selection above 
explained (Chap. XXI.), but that unity of plan supposed to 

* Hallam, Introduction to the Literature of Europe, &c., voL iv. p. 162. 


exist in the Divine Mind, whether realised or not materially 
and in the visible creation, of which the 6 links do not 
pass by an easy transition ' the one into the other, at least 
as beheld by us. 

Dr. Asa Gray, an eminent American botanist, to whom we 
are indebted for a philosophical essay of great merit on the 
Origin of Species by Variation and Natural Selection, has well 
observed, when speaking of the axiom of Leibnitz, ( Natura non 
agit saltatim,' that nature secures her ends, and makes her dis 
tinctions, on the whole, manifest and real, but without any 
important breaks or long leaps. e We need not wonder that 
gradations between species and varieties should occur, or that 
genera and other groups should not be absolutely limited, 
though they are represented to be so in our systems. The clas 
sifications of the naturalist define abruptly where nature more 
or less blends. Our systems are nothing if not definite.' 

The same writer reminds us that 'plants and animals are 
so different, that the difficulty of the ordinary observer would 
be to find points of comparison, whereas, with the naturalist, 
it is all the other way. All the broad differences vanish one 
by one as we approach the lower confines of the animal and 
vegetable kingdoms, and no absolute distinction whatever is 
now known between them.'* 

The author of an elaborate review of Darwin's ' Origin of 
Species,' himself an accomplished geologist, declares that if 
we embrace the doctrine of the ( continuous variation of all 
organic forms from the lowest to the highest, including man 
as the kst link in the chain of being, there must have been 
a transition from the instinct of the brute to the noble mind 
of man ; and in that case, ( where,' he ( asks,' are the missing 
links, and at what point of his progressive improvement did 

* Natural Selection not inconsistent Asa Gray. Triibner & Co., London, 
with Natural Theology, p. 55, by Dr. 1861. 


man acquire the spiritual part of his being, and become en 
dowed with the awful attribute of immortality ? ' * 

Before we raise objections of this kind to a scientific hy 
pothesis, it would be well to pause and enquire whether there 
are no analogous enigmas in the constitution of the world 
around us, some of which present even greater difficulties than 
that here stated. When we contemplate, for example, the 
many hundred millions of human beings who now people the 
earth, we behold thousands who are doomed to helpless im 
becility, and we may trace an insensible gradation between 
them and the half-witted, and from these again to individuals 
of perfect understanding, so that tens of thousands must 
have existed in the course of ages, who in their moral and 
intellectual condition, have exhibited a passage from the ir 
rational to the rational, or from the irresponsible to the 
responsible. Moreover it has recently been ascertained by 
the statistics of our metropolis, a city falling by no means 
below the average standard in regard to health, that one 
fourth of all the infants which are born, die before they are a 
month old ; so that we may safely affirm that millions perish 
on the earth in every century, in the first few hours of their 
existence. To assign to such individuals their appropriate 
psychological place in the creation, is one of the unprofitable 
themes on which theologians and metaphysicians have ex 
pended much ingenious speculation. 

The philosopher, without ignoring these difficulties, does 
not allow them to disturb his conviction that ' whatever is, is 
right,' nor do they check his hopes and aspirations in regard 
to the high destiny of his species ; but he also feels that it is 
not for one who is so often confounded by the painful reali 
ties of the present, to test the probability of theories respecting 
the past, by their agreement or want of agreement with some 

* Physical Theories of the Phenomena of Life, Frazer's Magazine, July 1860, 
p. 88. 


ideal of a perfect universe which those who are opposed to his 
opinions may have pictured to themselves. 

We may also demur to the assumption that the hypothesis 
of variation and natural selection obliges us to assume 
that there was an absolutely insensible passage from the 
highest intelligence of the inferior animals to the improvable 
reason of man. The birth of an individual of transcendent 
genius, of parents who have never displayed any intellectual 
capacity above the average standard of their age or race, is a 
phenomenon not to be lost sight of, when we are conjecturing 
whether the successive steps in advance, by which a progres 
sive scheme has been developed, may not admit of occasional 
strides, constituting breaks in an otherwise continuous series 
of psychical changes. 

The inventors of useful arts, the poets and prophets of the 
early stages of a nation's growth, the promulgators of new 
systems of religion, ethics, and philosophy, or of new codes 
of laws, have often been looked upon as messengers from 
Heaven, and after their death have had divine honours paid 
to them, while fabulous tales have been told of the pro 
digies which accompanied their birth. Nor can we wonder 
that such notions have prevailed when we consider what 
important revolutions in the moral and intellectual world 
such leading spirits have brought about ; and when we reflect 
that mental as well as physical attributes are transmissible 
by inheritance, so that we may possibly discern in such leaps 
the origin of the superiority of certain races of mankind. In 
our own time the occasional appearance of such extraordi 
nary mental powers may be attributed to atavism ; but there 
must have been a beginning to the series of such rare and 
anomalous events. If, in conformity with the theory of 
progression, we believe mankind to have risen slowly from 
a rude and humble starting point, such leaps may have 


successively introduced not only higher and higher forms and 
grades of intellect, but at a much remoter period may have 
cleared at one bound the space which separated the highest 
stage of the unprogressive intelligence of the inferior animals 
from the first and lowest form of improvable reason mani 
fested by man. 

To say that such leaps constitute no interruption to the 
ordinary course of nature, is more than we are warranted in 
affirming. In the case of the occasional birth of an indivi 
dual of superior genius, there is certainly no break in the 
regular genealogical succession ; and when all the mists of 
mythological fiction are dispelled by historical criticism, 
when it is acknowledged that the earth did not tremble at 
the nativity of the gifted infant, and that the face of heaven 
was not full of fiery shapes, still a mighty mystery remains 
unexplained, and it is the order of the phenomena, and not 
their cause, which we are able to refer to the usual course of 

Dr. Asa Gray, in the excellent essay already cited (p. 502), 
has pointed out that there is no tendency in the doctrine of 
Variation and Natural Selection to weaken the foundations of 
Natural Theology ; for, consistently with the derivative hypo 
thesis of species, we may hold any of the popular views 
respecting the manner in which the changes of the natural 
world are brought about. We may imagine ' that events and 
operations in general go on in virtue simply of forces commu 
nicated at the first, and without any subsequent interference, 
or we may hold that now and then, and only now and then, 
there is a direct interposition of the Deity ; or, lastly, we may 
suppose that all the changes are carried on by the immediate 
orderly and constant, however infinitely diversified, action of 
the intelligent, efficient Cause.' They who maintain that the 
origin of an individual, as well as the origin of a species or 


a genus, can be explained only by the direct action of the 
creative cause, may retain their favourite theory compatibly 
with the doctrine of transmutation. 

Professor Agassiz, having observed that, 'while human 
thought is consecutive, divine thought is simultaneous,' Dr. 
Asa Gray has replied that, * if divine thought is simultaneous, 
we have no right to affirm the same of divine action.' 

The whole course of nature may be the material embodi 
ment of a preconcerted arrangement ; and if the succession 
of events be explained by transmutation, the perpetual 
adaptation of the organic world to new conditions leaves the 
argument in favour of design, and therefore of a designer, 
as valid as ever; e for to do any work by an instrument must 
require, and therefore presuppose, the exertion rather of 
more than of less power, than to do it directly.' * 

As to the charge of materialism brought against all forms 
of the developement theory, Dr. Gray has done well to re 
mind us that f of the two great minds of the seventeenth 
century, Newton and Leibnitz, both profoundly religious as 
well as philosophical, one produced the theory of gravita 
tion, the other objected to that theory, that it was subversive 
of natural religion.' f 

It may be said that, so far from having a materialistic 
tendency, the supposed introduction into the earth at succes 
sive geological periods of life, sensation, instinct, the 
intelligence of the higher mammalia bordering on reason, 
and lastly the improvable reason of Man himself, presents 
us with a picture of the ever-increasing dominion of mind 
over matter. 

* Asa Gray, ibid. p. 55. f Ibid, p, 31. 




A BBEVILLE and Amiens, 102 
J\. peat of, 109 
Agassi/ cited, 105, 226 

on Alpine glaciers, 291 
classification, 397 

immaterial principle in animals, 


Florida coral reefs, 44 

instinct, 493 

theory of Glen Koy roads, 256 

Age of man in reference to glacial 

period, 228 

Ages of stone and bronze, 369 
Alluvium of Thames, 154 

with flint tools, 93, 106, 112-150, 

Alpine erratics on Jura, 294 

glacial action, 291, 320 
Alternate generation, 421 
American Indians, 140 

monkeys, dentition of, 479 
Amiens flint implements, 95, 114, 132 
Amoorland mammals, 158, 440 
Anca, Baron, 176 

Antiquites Celtiques, 94 
Antiquity of Liege cave bones, 73 

man, 206, 289, 372, 384 

Apes, brain of, compared to human, 

classification of, 474 

list of genera of, 487 
Archseopteryx macrurus, 450 
Archencephala, 481, 491 


Arcy-sur-Yonne, 151 
Ardekillen Lake, 30 
Aristotle, meteorics, 381 
Aryan hypothesis, 455 
Aurignac burial place, post-pliocene, 
(fig. 25), 182 

fossils, antiquity of, 190 
Aurochs, 14, 190 

Austen, Mr. Godwin, on Kent's hole, 97 
marine post -pliocene 

shells on Sussex coast, 


Pease Marsh gravel, 161 

Australian skulls, 87 

weapons, 113 
Aymard, M., 194 

pABINGTON, Mr., 425 

D Bacton whales, 217 

Baillon, M., 126 

Bald, Mr., 53 

Baltic, brackish waters of, 13, 56 

Barrett, Lucas, 451 

Bats in islands, 445, 447 

Beaches, raised, 57 

Beach raised in Fife, 54 

Bedford flint tools, 165 

Behring's Straits, 367 

Belgian caverns, 59 

Bell, Mr., on Bos primigenius, 370 

Bentham, Mr., 425 

Biddenham, near Bedford, 1 63 




Bienne, lake of, 29 

Bimana, order of, Blumenbach, 4 74 

Bimanous, term, 475 

Binkhorst, M. Van, 339 

Binney, Mr. E., on marine drift shells 

in Central England, 270 
Birch, Mr., on Egypt, 37 
Bison Europseus, 61, 191 
Bize, cavern of, 59 
Blumenbach's order Bimana, 474 
Boetlingk, M., 233 
Borreby skull (fig. 5), 85 
Bos bison, 14 

brachyceros, 24 

primigenius, 22, 24 
trochoceros, 24 

urus, 14 

Boucher de Perthes, cited, 94, 109, 

113, 121,228 
Boulders floating on ice, 361 

striated, 304 

Brachiopoda fossil, Davidson on, 426 
Brain, human structure of, 480 

of Bushwoman (fig. 58), 485 
chimpanzee (fig. 56), 484 and 

(fig. 57) 485 

Eolleston on, 492 
Brick, burnt, in Egypt, 36 
Bristow, H. W., cited, 278 
British Isles, map of, 276 

in glacial period, 278 

Brixham cave, 96 

Brocchi on dying out of species, 393 
Brongniart, Adolphe, on progression, 

398, 404 

Bronn on progression, 397 
Bronze, age of, 10, 370 
Brown, Mr. John, on Shetland insects, 


Bubalus moschatus, 145, 156 
Buchanan, Mr. John, on Glasgow 

canoes, 47 

Buckland, Dr., 97, 256 
Buffalo fossil near Berlin, 156 
Bunsen, Baron, cited, 383 
Burial rites in post-pliocene period, 


Buried hut in Swedish drift, 240 
Busk, Mr., cited, 11,84,86 

on Borreby skull, 85 

Buteux's sections at St. Acheul, 96,136 


pAGLIAKI, 177 

V^ Cairo, 37 

Canada, drift of, 354 

Canche river, 109 

Canoes, buried, of Glasgow, 49 

Capercailzie in shell mounds, 15 

Carnon, skulls at, 56 

Carriden, 51. 

Carses of Clyde, Forth, and Tay, 47, 

51, 54, 283 

Carver, travels in N. America, 189 
Cashmere, temple, 45 
Caucasus, languages in, 460 
Cave deposits, 93 

- bear in Brixham Cave, 100 

of Neanderthal, 75 
at Bankton, 48 

Brixham, 96 

Cavern of Bize, 59 

Chauvaux, 80 

Engis, 65 

Pondres, near Nismes, 60 
Caverns round Liege, 63 

Chalk, dislocations of, Denmark, 342 

pinnacle at Sherringham, 221 
Chambers, Mr. Robert, 241 

on parallel roads, 258, 260 

Chamblon, pile works, 28 

Changes in physical geography, 375 

- of level, 110, 286 
Charonne, 151 

Charpentier on Alpine glaciers, 291 
Chavannes, 26 
Chilian Andes glaciers, 296 
Chillesford beds, 211 
Chimpanzee, Marshall on, 488 

brain, 484 
Chokier cavern, 65, 72 
Christol, M., 59 

Civilisation, early Egyptian, 380 
Classification, systems of, 473 
Cleopatra's Baths, 35 

Clichy, gravel of, 151 
Climate, 368 

changes of, 364, 368 

of Europe when Amiens' flint 

tools embedded, 142 
drift of North Ger 
many was formed,! 57 
Coast ice, transporting power of, 363 

of Cornwall, 56 




Cold, increasing, shown by Norfolk 
and Suffolk tertiaries, 210 

period in France, 138, 142 

: Sicily and Syria, 223 

Contorted drift, 222 

in North Italy, 308 

- strata, Norfolk (figs. 29, 30, 31), 

at St. Acheul (fig. 21 a), 138 

Copford, Essex, 155 

Copper, age of, 11 

Coral reefs, Florida, 44 

Cornwall, coast of, 56 

Coscinopora globularis figured, 119 

Crag of Suffolk, 209 

Crahay, Professor, 339 

Crannoges, 29 

Crawfurd, Mr., on languages, 455 

Creation by variation, 417 

of species, 394, 423 
Crete, rising of, 178 
Cromer forest bed, 212, 214 

granite erratics at, 218 

section of Norfolk cliffs, at 213 
Currents affect climate, 368 
Cynotherium, 177 

Cyrena fluminalis, 123, 124, 142, 154, 

159, 161 
figures of, 124 

DANISH peat, 8, 372 
- shell mounds, 11, 372 
Darent, valley of, 161 
Darwin, Charles, on beach near Lima, 


erratics, 270 

glaciers of Chilian Andes, 


origin of species, 408 

parallel roads, 257 

on progression, 405 

Davidson on fossil brachiopoda, 426 

Dawkins, Mr., 171 

Degeneracy, notion of, controverted, 


Degradation of structure, 412 
Delabeche, Sir H., his map of British 

Isles upheaved 600 feet, 275, 279 
Delesse, M., analysis of fossil bones 

by, 187 


Delta of Mississippi, 42 

Nile, 33 

Dendrites on flint, figures of 116 

Denise fossil man, 194 

Deshayes on recent species of shells in 

upper miocene strata, 430 
Desnoyers, M., on antiquity of human 

remains, 61, 181 

Deville on contraction of granite, 286 
Disco Island, 236 
Dogs, bones of, in shell mounds, 15 

of bronze age, 25 

D'Orbigny, Alcide, controverts exis 
tence of recent species of miocene 
shells, 430 

Dover, Straits of, 284, 367 

Dowler, Dr., 43, 200 

Drew, Mr. F., cited, 278 

Drift and boulders in Ireland, 272 

contorted in Denmark, 342 

in Perthshire, 244 
Drumkellin bog, 30 
Dryden on man, quoted, 193 
Dryopithecus of Lartet, 
Dumontd'Urville,Papoo dwellings, 19 
Dundonald, cannel coal ornament at, 


Diirnten, near Zurich, lignite of, 314 
Dussel river, 75 

T7ARTHQUAKE of 1855 in New 
i-J Zealand, 349 

New Madrid, 202 

Egypt, borings in Nile valley, 33, 38 

date of buildings in, 380 

Sir G. C. Lewis on, 381 
Egyptian early civilisation, 380 
Egyptologists, 38 
Elephants' fossil teeth, 133 
Elephas antiquus (fig. 19), 133, 143 

meridionalis (fig. 20), 133 

primigenius (fig. 18), 133 

Torquay, 371 

Elevation of land, in Sardinia, 177 

in valley of Mississippi, 205 

Eliot, Father, translation of Bible, 


Embryological development, 415 
Engihoul cavern, 65 




Engis cave skull, 79, and (fig. 2) 81 

cavern, 65 

England, glacial formations in, 269 
Engulfed rivers near Liege, 72 
Eocene monkey of lliitimeyer, 500 

supposed monkey of Kyson, a 

pachyderm, 500 

Equine fossil species in America, 439 
Erosion, glacial, of lakes, 309 
Erosive action of glaciers, 315 
Erratic blocks, map of, 357 

distribution and size of, 362 

in Massachusetts, 355 

England, 280 

Erratics in Ireland, 272 

Sussex, 281 

Sweden, 239 

Escher von der Linth on Alpine 

erratics, 303 

Etheridge, Mr., cited, 278 
Europe, map of N.W., upheaved 600 

feet, 279 
Evans, Mr. John, 162, 187 

on archseopteryx, 453 

on flint implements, 117 

Extinct glaciers of Switzerland, 290 
Extinction of species, 374, 393 

FAJOLES, hill of, 182 
Ealconer, Dr.. on British species 
of fossil rhinoceros, 173 

cited, 134, 135, 143, 174, 179, 

199, 216 

on Brixham cave, 98 

elephants, 436 

plagiaulax, 400 

Falunian strata, 430 
Farquharson of Haughton, 113 
Fife, raised beach in, 54 
Finmark, unequal movement in, 348 
Flint implements, 66, 127, 160-163 
- figures of, 114, 115, 118 

at Icklingham, 169 

Hoxne, Suffolk, 166 

from St. Acheul, 114 

in ancient gravel, 141 

basin of Seine, 1 50 

. Somme valley, 112 

of Ouse valley, 163 

knives in Aurignac cave, 188 


Flint knives in Brixham cave, 102 
valley of Somme, 117 

tools near Bedford, 165 

Florida coral reefs, 44 

Flower, Mr., on quadrumana, 488 

Fluviatile deposits of Thames valley, 

Fluvio-marine formation at Shoe- 
bury ness, 129 

Foldings of strata in Island of Moen, 

Fond du Foret, 70 

Foraminifera, 442 

Forbes, Edward, cited, 283 

Fauna and Flora of British 

Isles, cited, 6, 146, 211, 274, 

on zero of animal life in Egean, 


Forest bed of Norfolk cliffs, 215 

Forfarshire zone of boulder clay, 249 

Fossil man of Denise, 194 

Fossiliferous strata, tabular view of, 

Fox, used for food, 24 

France, Central, volcanic action in, 

Frere, Mr., on flint implements, 104, 

Fuhlrott, Dr., 76 

p ALLO-ROMAN antiquities, 152 

vl coffins, 134 

remains, 110 

Gangetic mud, 336 

Gamier, M., of Amiens, 134, 143, 145 

Gastaldi, Signer, 305 

Gaudry, M., 104 

Gaulish monuments, 61 

Geikie, Mr., cited, 278 

on buried canoes, 49 

upheaval of Scotland, 50 

Generations, alternate, 421 
Geneva, Lake of, filled with ice, 299 
Geographical changes in post-pliocene 

period, 273, 284, 375 
Geological record, imperfection of, 

German language in Pennsylvania, 



SI 3 


Gillieron, Victor, 28 

Giraffe, 410 

Girard on Egypt, 37 

Glacial changes in Scotland, 248 

, time required for, 284 

deposits of Norfolk cliffs, 218 

succession of, 322 

in Ireland, 270 

drift near Ivrea, 308 

deposits in England, 269 

period, 229, 435 
a'ge of, 206 

in North America, 351 

- Scotland, 241 

furrows, 293 
Glacial erosion, 309 

Glaciers, 291, 293, 294, 296, 301, 

, extinct in Wales, 265 

Glaciers extinct of Alps, intense ac 
tion of, 304, and (fig. 42) 299 

Morlot on, 301 

Glen Roy, Agassizon, 256 

Glen Roy, map of (fig. 36), 254, 252, 

and see Parallel roads 
Goffontaine, G9 
Gorilla, foot of, 477 

Huxley on, 490 

Owen on, 490 

Gosse, II. T., flint tools found by, 


Gower caves, 1 72 
Gratiolet on brain, 482 
Gravels, upper and lower, 130 
Gray, Dr. Asa, on law of continuity, 

natural selection and 

natural theology, 502, 505 
Gray's Thurrock, 157 
Greeks and Romans on early state of 

man, 379 

Greenland, continental ice of, 235 
Griffiths, Sir R., on Irish drift, 272 
Grotto di Maccagnone, 175 
Ground-ice, 139 
Guildford flint implements, 161 
Gulf stream affects climate, 364 
Gunri, Rev. J., on Mundesley strata, 

168, 216, 224 
Guyot on glaciers, 297 


HAARLEM, lake of, 157 
Hall, James, on trains of erratics 

in United States, 355 
Hallam on Man's place in creation, 


Hallstadt triassic beds, 449 
Hanno, 384 

Happisburgh buried forest, 214 
Harrison, General, on Ohio mounds, 

Hay den, Mr., on fossil mammalia of 

Niobrara, 438 

Hearne on American Indians, 140 
Hebert, M., 104, 151, 196 
Heer, Professor, cited, 215, 237 

on carbonised wheat, 21 

Diirnten fossils, 315 

Oeninghen plants, 431 

fossil plants of Greenland 

and Iceland, 238 

and linger on Atlantic continent, 


Hekekyan Bey, 33 

Heliopolis, 4, 388, 333 

Herodotus on lake dwellings in Thrace, 

Herschel, Sir J. F., on physical geo 
graphy and polar cold, 367 

Hesbayan mud or loess, 329 

Hildreth, Dr., 41 

Himalayan mud compared to loess, 

Hippopotamus, climate and habits of, 


His, Professor, 26 

Hitchcock, Professor, on glaciers of 

Massachusetts, 355 
Homer on Thebes, 382 
Hooker, Dr. on creation by variation, 

134, 157, 142, 157, 172,' 175, 417 

glaciers of Lebanon, 323 

Himalayan shelves or roads, 


progression, whether indi 
cated by fossil plants, 404 

reversion, 420 

variation in plants of com 
plex organisation, 442 
Hopkins on climate, 364 
Horace on origin of Man, 379 

L L 



Homer, Mr., on borings of alluvial 

plain of the Nile, 34, 33 
Homes en Vienna basin, 430 
Hoxne flint implements, 166 

section of strata at (fig. 24), 168 
Hull, Mr. E., on extinct glaciers in 

England, 269 
Human bones, 59 

' absence of, in alluvium of 

Somme, 144 
in Liege caverns, 64 

fossils at Le Puy, 194 
Natchez, 200 

remains in loess near Maestricht, 

Humboldt, Alex., on languages, 461 

William, on languages, 468 
Humphry, Dr., on characters of Negro, 

Huxley on brain, 483 

gorilla, 490 

human skulls of Engis and 

Neanderthal, 80 
difference between reason and 

instinct, 494 

term quadrumanous, 476, 478 

Hysena spelsea, 171 
Hybridisation, 411 

TCE-ACTION in Norfolk cliffs, 222 

North America, 355 

river beds, 139 

of extinct glaciers, intensity of, 


Icebergs, action of, 230, 361 
Iceland, Norwegian colony in, 465 
Icelandic language, 466 

surturbr and, plants of, 238 
Icklingham flint implements, 169 
Immortality of the soul, 498 
Imperfection of geological record, 


Independent creation, 422 
Indians of Massachusetts, extinction 

of, 467 

Insects, European and American, 434 
Ireland, glacial formations in, 270 
Irish lake dwellings, 29 
Iron, age of, 10 
Islands, absence of mammalia in, 443 


Italian extinct glaciers, 305 
Ivrea glacial drift, 308 

TAMES, Sir H., cited, 271, 278 
J Jamieson, T. P., of Ellon, 242 

cited, 278 

on extinct river chan 
nels, 249 

on glacial period in 

Scotland, 244 

on parallel roads 259 

Jukes, Prof., survey of Ireland, 272 
Junction and separation of England 
and Ireland, 282 

the Continent, 

Jura, Alpine blocks on, 294 

T7ELLER on lake villages, 19 

' V fishing-huts, 19 

Kent, flint implements in, 162 
Kent's Hole, cave near Torquay, 97 
King, Rev. S. W. on Mundesley 
section, 168, 224 

cited, 214, 215, 217 

Kingsley, Rev. C., 156 

Kitchen -middens, or refuse heaps, 12, 


Kjerulf of Christiania on ice-action 
in Sweden, 234 

T AKE-BASINS, origin of, 309 
J-J dwelling, post-glacial in Italy, 

Swiss, Plate L, frontispiece, 17, 


of Haarlem, 147 
Lamarck's theory, 389 

objections to, 392 

Lambert, Abbe, on fossil bones of 

Oise valley, 153 

Lament, Mr., on Spitzbergen, 268 
Languages formed slowly, 465 

changes of, compared to species, 


origin and development of, 454 
Larcom, Lieut., map of Ireland, 278 
Lartet, M., 60, 153, 183, 196 




Lartet, M., on Dryopithecus, 499 
Lauder, Sir T. Dick, cited, 255 
Leech, Mr. T., on flint tools, 162 
Leidy, Dr., on fossil mammalia of 

United States, 438 
Lemming of Norway, 157 
Lepsius, cited, 383 
Lepus timidus, 23 

Le Puy-en-Velay human fossils, 194 
Lewis, Sir G. C., 381, 382 
Liebig on stalactite, 71 
Liege caverns, 63, 70 
Life at great depths in ocean, 268 
Lignite at Uznach, 315 
Linant Bey, 37 
Linnaean order, Primates, 474 
Living languages, number of, 458 
Lochaber parallel roads, 252 
Loess at Liege, 74 

fossil shells of (figs. 44, 46), 326 

geographical distribution of, 328 

human remains in, 324 

in basin of Danube, 333 
Neckar, 332 

nature and origin of, 324 
near Stuttgart, 331 

of Belgium, 329 
Odenwald, 330 

position of, 334 

Lohle, Mr., on piles of lake dwellings, 

London, flint implements in gravel of, 

Longevity of species in mammalia, 

Loven, on arctic character of drift 

shells, 57 
Lower level gravels of Somme Valley, 

Lubbock, Mr., on Danish shell mounds, 


Bubalus moschatus, 156 

Swiss lake dwellings, 19 

Lund, fossil monkeys found by, in 

Brazil, -i98 

MACANDEEW, Mr., 146 
Maccagnone, Grotto di, 175 
M'Enery, Mr., 97 


Maclaren, Mr. C., on Pentland hill 
erratics, 247 

Swiss erratics, 298 

Madeiran Archipelago, 444 
Maestricht loess, 338 
Malaise, Professor, 69 
Malthusian doctrine, 409 
Mammalia, absence of, in islands, 443 

at Menchecourt, 125 

nineteen species of, in 

Aurignac cave, 185 
Mammalian fauna in Central France, 

fossil in drift of Somme, 137 
of Norfolk cliffs, 216 

longevity of species in, 441 

recent and fossil, 436 

remains in Liege caverns, 64 

scarcity of, in Irish drift, 271 

Mammals of Amoorland, 158 

Man, extermination of species by, 374 

foot of, 476 

migrations of, 376 

Man's age in relation to present fauna, 

Map by de Mortillet of moraines 

(fig. 43), 306 

of British isles in glacial period 

(fig. 39), 276, (fig. 40) 278 

erratic blocks in U. S., 357 

Europe upheaved 600 feet (fig. 

41), 279 

parallel roads, Glen Eoy (fig. 

36), 254 

Marcel de Serres, 60 
Marcon, Mr., cited, 315 
Marietta, mounds at, 41 
Marmora, Count Albert de la, 177 
Marshall, Mr. on chimpanzee, 488 
Massachusetts erratic blocks, 355,359 
Mastodon, genus, 353, 436 

arvernensis, 226 

giganteus, 351, 353 

Mautort, flints at, near Abbeville, 125 
Megaceros Hibernicus, 185, 273, 283 
Meigs, Dr,, 42 

Meilen, lake of Zurich, 18, 26 
Memphis, 34, 381 

antiquity of, 382 
Menchecourt, near Abbeville, 121 

mammalia, 125 



Menchecourt, fossil shells at, 123^ 

section at, 122 
Menzaleh, lake, 35 
Meridional zones of cold, 366 
Migrations of man, 376 

Miller, Hugh, on progression, 396 
Milne, Mr., cited, 129 
Miocene flora of Iceland, 238 

plants and insects, 432 
Missing links between man and 

animals, 502 
Mississippi Delta, 42 

section of valley of (fig. 26), 200 
Moel Tryfane, 267 

Moen, Island of, 342 

Moens klint (figs. 47 and 48), 344 

Molluscs, longevity of species in, 442 

Moore, Mr. C., 401 

Moosseedorf, lake of, 20 

Moraines, of modern glaciers, 293 

in Scotland, 248 . 
Merges, bronze period, 21 
Morlot on Swiss glaciers, 301, 220 

. geological archaeology, 110 

delta of Tiniere, 27 

Mortillet, Gabriel de, on lake basins 


map of moraines by, 306 

Morvan, granite boulders from, 151 

Moulin Quignon, 130 

Mounds in valley of Ohio, 39, 41 

of Santos, 41 

Mud produced by glaciers, 325 
Mudge, Captain, 31 
Miiller, Max, on languages, 454 
Mundesley and Hoxne deposits 
compared, 2 '2 7 

fresh water formation, 223 

section (fig. 33), 224 
Murchison, Sir B,. L, on Alpine 

glaciers, 296 
Muswell Hill, 160 

Mutability in vegetable kingdom, 418 
Mytilus edulis, 13 
fossil, 178, 240 

1CTATCHEZ, age of deposit, 203 
li fossil man, 205 

human fossil at, 200 

shells, 201 


Natural selection, 407, 413 

and variation, 469 

Neanderthal cave, section of (fig. 1), 76 

skeleton. 76, 375 

skull, 78 and (fig. 3) 82, and (fig. 4) 


Nebraska valley, 439 
Negro, anatomical character of, 91 

pictures of in Egyptian temples, 385 

race unchanged in Virginia, 386 
Neozoic strata, 7 

Newbold, Captain, 36 
New Madrid, earthquake of, 202 
New Zealand, earthquakes in, 349 
Nile delta, 33 

mud, 325 

river, 36 
Niobrara valley, 438 
Noeggerath, Professor, of Bonn, 128 
Nomenclature of Tertiaries, 3 
Norfolk cliffs, section of (fig. 27), 213 
North America, glacial period in, 351 
deposits in, 354 

Cape, rising, 58 
Norway, raised beaches, 57 
Norwegian colony in Iceland, 465 
Norwich Crag, 208 

OAK, in Danish peat, 9 
Ocean, life in at great depths, 268 
Oeninghen beds, 431 
Ohio, ancient mounds of valley of, 39 

valley of, 39 
Oise, valley of, 153 
Orbitolina concava, 119 

Organic remains, in Scotch boulder 

clay, 250 

variety of in glacial formations, 

Origin of species by variation and 

natural selection, 407 

and development of languages, 454 
Oscillations of Alpine glaciers, 292 

of level, 285, 287, 333 
Ossiferous caves in Sicily, 1 74 
Ouse, valley, section of, 164 
flint implements, 163 

Owen, Professor, on human brain, 480 

supposed eocene monkey of 

Kyson, 500 



Owen,Professor, on archseopteryx, 451 

brain of marmoset, 483 

gorilla, 490 

progression, 397 

PALUDINA marginata, 225 

JL Parallel roads, Darwin on, 257 

view of, Plate II., p. 252 

of Glen Roy, 252 

Chambers on, 258 

Jamieson on, 259 

Pajonian lake dwellings, 17 

Pagham erratics near Chichester, 280, 

Pascal's Thoughts, 500 

Paviland skeleton, 98 

Peat, Danish, 8 

antiquity of, 110 

of Somme valley, 106, 108 

rate of growth of, 111 
Pengelly, Mr., 98 
Penguin, in shell-mounds, 15 
Pennsylvania, 466 
Pertuan, skulls, 56 
Perthshire, drift in, 244 
Pertz, Chevalie